New survey shows 80 percent of Ohio restaurants may not break even in 2020

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – According to a new survey from an industry association, 80 percent of Ohio’s restaurants do not expect to break even this year.

In survey results released Sunday by the Ohio Restaurant Association, 65 percent of restaurants reported their sales are down anywhere from 5 to over 70 percent year-over-year, with 27 percent reporting a loss of between 20 and 50 percent.

“Sales continue to underperform compared to previous years due to capacity limitations, a statewide alcohol curfew of 10 p.m., low consumer confidence versus 2019 and ongoing narrative from elected and health officials about the risk of dining at restaurants,” the association wrote in a press release announcing the survey results.

The latest ORA poll references information from Aug. 17-30, the association reported.

The majority of restaurants – 56 percent – said they either don’t serve alcohol or haven’t noticed a sales decline due to the state’s “last call” orders, while 14 percent report their after 10 p.m. sales have declined by 75 percent or more.

Columbus restaurants hope this week’s Columbus Restaurant Week will help turn things around.

The survey also found the following:

  • 44 percent of restaurants report if they continue to operate at their current capacity, they will have to close within nine months. ORA said this number is under 50 percent for the first time in many weeks.
  • 80 percent of restaurants have reopened their dining rooms, while 14 percent said they do not plan to reopen dining rooms at this time.
  • Operating capacity remains an issue for a number of restaurants, with 41 percent saying they are operating at less than 50 percent capacity; 45 operating at less than 75 percent capacity; and 12 percent operating at more than 75 percent capacity.
  • 70 percent have brought back between 50 to 100 percent of the pre-pandemic workforce. Twenty-four percent report operating with less than 50 percent of the pre-pandemic workforce.
  • 82 percent of restaurants are selling to-go cocktails

The results of the association’s bi-weekly polls are used in the ORA’s discussions with elected official and shared with the industry, ORA said in the press release.

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