NYC Restaurants Significantly Struggling Due to COVID-19

The food industry in New York City is highly profitable, but struggling as of late.
The food industry in New York City is highly profitable, but struggling as of late.

April 6, 2020 — The recent figures reported by the New York Post illustrate some startling trends: there are about 25,000 dine-in restaurants in New York City that are currently closed to the pubic and 320,000 jobs have been lost. These worrying statistics, among many more, can be found in the recent Employment Situation Summary by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Business owners have also lost approximately $2 billion in revenue over the past month. In this dire situation, there is much uncertainty about which restaurants will survive and which ones will be closed for good.

Some are arguing that the federal stimulus bill will help resolve these issues, while other say that the figures don’t do much to help the restaurant industry. This is especially true because a significant monthly cost to restaurants is fixed and hard to change: rent or lease payments. Rent or lease payments are proving to be very damaging for struggling New York City businesses as they are a cost that cannot be simply cut.

Many people are advocating for a legislated rent freeze or a temporary lessening of costs, but for now that seems unlikely. It appears that the biggest success is coming from negotiations between restaurant owners and landlords themselves. If some landlords are able to make concessions, this could help some NY food businesses weather the storm and come out of the other side alive, even if they are a bit worse for wear. The food industry in the Big Apple is extremely profitable and does have the potential to rebound; ensuring that food businesses have the ability to wait out the COVID-19 crisis is what is needed right now.