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National Restaurant Association says members slammed by omicron wave

Monday, Jan 24, 2022

* National Restaurant Association press release excerpt…

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the latest surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Forced to adapt to deteriorating consumer confidence, restaurants reduced hours/days of operation, cut seating capacity, and shutdown, pivoting to off-premises dining with the end result being lower sales volumes in 2021 than in 2019.

According to the survey, we know:

    • 88% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor on-premises dining in because of the omicron variant.
    • 76% of operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago.
    • 74% say their restaurant is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic.

* WICS has a local angle

Over $111 million dollars in relief funds have gone out to small businesses in Illinois who struggled throughout the pandemic.

These grants were given out to help small shops with challenges from the pandemic like rehiring staff or paying for PPE.

Ms. D’s Kitchen here in Springfield says COVID-19 initially closed her doors but this state relief money is giving her the push to expand.

“We don’t have money anyway, “said the owner of Ms. D’s Kitchen, Magalene Daniel. “If you have a business and can get a little help to do things, you can get started.” […]

This latest wave of back-to-business grants was especially geared toward industries that hit the hardest like hotels, restaurants, salons, and gyms.

More than half of the back-to-business grants sent out have gone to owners of color.

…Adding… The DCEO grant recipient list is here.

…Adding… American Hotel & Lodging Association

The hotel industry will continue moving toward recovery in 2022, but the path will be uneven and potentially volatile, and full recovery is still several years away, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)’s 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report. The report, which reveals shifts in consumer and business sentiment, was created in collaboration with AHLA Silver Partner Accenture and is based on data and forecasts from Oxford Economics and AHLA Platinum Partner STR.

The top findings of the report include:

    • Hotel occupancy rates and room revenue are projected to approach 2019 levels in 2022

    • The outlook for ancillary revenue, which includes food & beverage and meeting space, is less optimistic

    • Hotels lost a collective $111.8 billion in room revenue alone during 2020 and 2021

    • Leisure travelers will continue to drive recovery: in 2019, business travelers made up 52.5% of industry room revenue; in 2022, it is projected to represent just 43.6%

    • Business travel is expected to remain down more than 20% for much of the year, while just 58% of meetings and events are expected to return; the full effects of Omicron are not yet known

    • Changing traveler segments, including the rapid rise of bleisure travelers—those who blend business and leisure travel—are impacting how hotels operate. In fact, one study of global business travelers found 89% wanted to add a private holiday to their business trips in the next twelve months

    • In this new environment, technology will be even more critical to a property’s success, according to AHLA Platinum Partner Oracle Hospitality—with hotels investing in technology to meet the needs of both guests and employees today and in the future

…Adding… Press release…

Dozens of local South Side businesses were recently awarded over $2.4 million in funding from the Back to Business Program to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the support of State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“Businesses across the state have been negatively impacted in the last two years, especially Black and Brown-owned small businesses and in the hospitality industry,” Peters said. “These grants are giving South Side businesses a much needed boost to get back on their feet as we continue to recover.”

The B2B program grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget. So far – thanks to strong support from Sen. Peters – DCEO has provided $111 million in B2B grants to nearly 3,000 small businesses throughout the state with an emphasis on disproportionately impacted areas.

In the district Peters represents, 81 businesses were awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $145,000 to help them cover the costs of safely staying open in these unpredictable times. Businesses ranged from barber shops to photography studios and more.

“The B2B program’s focus on hard hit sectors like restaurants, salons, fitness centers and organizations focusing on the arts really make it a nation-leading example of small business recovery,” Peters said. “I am glad to see so many businesses in our community receive this important assistance.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - ChicagoBars - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 9:27 am:

    Could somebody please ask DCEO how many applications they received. The demand versus the publishers clearing house style recent award process is the real story.

    But also somebody ask DCEO to break out dollar value of grants vs number of grants on the owners of color statistic.

    The application window for these grants closed back in October and DCEO has handed out less than half of the money. A little alacrity with the assistance is long overdue.

    End rant?


  2. - don the legend - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    If we were fully vaxxed, I wonder if that might help??
    Maybe Bailey and DeVore know the answer.


  3. - Google Is Your Friend - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    ==• 76% of operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago.==

    But Darren Bailey and Ken Griffin told me you can wish away a pandemic


  4. - cermak_rd - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    Yes, covid sucks for restaurants. But this time, mitigation cannot be blamed. This is purely about the virus and the human response to it. SO going forward I would not be in favor of governmnet help for waves without mitigations. These grants, I believe, are for restaurants that suffered from the mitigations. That’s reasonable since it was an act of government in that case (even though yes, business would have gone down anyway when people started dying).


  5. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 10:30 am:

    ==SO going forward I would not be in favor of governmnet help for waves without mitigations.==

    I agree. No more restaurant and bar aid. Especially since many of those places are refusing to enforce mask mandates (with the exception of some fast food places which have gone back to barring indoor dining due to Omicron and/or staffing concerns).


  6. - MisterJayEm - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 11:01 am:

    “No more restaurant and bar aid. Especially since many of those places are refusing to enforce mask mandates”

    Throw entire sectors of the economy under the bus because “many” [citation needed] are bad actors?

    That seems like the basis of a great public policy.

    – MrJM


  7. - Big Mike - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 11:11 am:

    Perhaps the decline in business may also be caused by credit card bills from Christmas, rotten weather, and in Chicago increase in crime.


  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    ===and in Chicago increase in crime===

    It’s a national survey. While January is always bad for bars and restaurants, this is really bad.


  9. - Chicago Bars - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 11:36 am:

    Point of infromation: The big Federal relief program (which also included bars) the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, as well as DCEO’s earlier BIG Grants were based on actual losses/revenue drops from way back in 2020 when everything was shut down hard nationally (a point Senator Rand Paul studiously ignored when he blocked a bill to replenish that Federal fund).

    Why nothing would personally give me more pleasure than places that ignored (with local official assistance) State mandates being barred from aid, most of the earlier assistance is helping dig out of the vast 2020 damage done these industries by Covid and Covid mitigations.

    Whether the awards in DCEO’s current Back To Business grant program are being calculated on 2020 losses (when mitigations were generally followed) or 2021 losses (when mitigation enforcement was…iffy statewide) I do not know.


  10. - Pundent - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    Hopefully the Omicron wave is cresting an we’ll soon be in a better place. The impacts on business continue to be twofold. Not having enough available staff due to the pandemic and exacerbated by the variant, and customers who are similarly effected and unable/unwilling to dine out.

    It does seem that are inability to get more people vaccinated is directly impacting the economy in terms of both workers and customers.


  11. - Demoralized - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==Throw entire sectors of the economy under the bus ==

    This person thinks the economy should have been shut down many times during this pandemic.


  12. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 24, 22 @ 3:36 pm:

    Just an observation / snapshot in time. From trying to arrange our car club’s convention this year, hotel room pricing is up significantly. Room occupancy may be projected to be so-so, but it looks like the hotel / motel industry is going to try to get profits back up.


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