(CNN) – The restaurant industry is in worse shape now than it was three months ago, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association.
Seventy-eight percent of restaurateurs said they had experienced a drop in customer demand in recent weeks due to issues with Delta variants, according to survey data released Wednesday.
This, along with rising feed costs, has squeezed the industry’s already slim margins. Of those surveyed, 91% of restaurants said they pay more for food and 84% have higher labor costs despite labor shortages preventing them from meeting demand, indicated the investigation.
Meanwhile, 71% of restaurants are understaffed while struggling with supply shortages. Almost all of the restaurants surveyed – 95% – said they had experienced supply delays or key food or drink shortages in the past three months.
Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association, said, “Our nation’s restaurant recovery is officially being reversed.
The association estimates that the restaurant recovery will continue until 2022. In response, the group called on Congress to provide more funds to the $ 28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The group estimates that two-thirds of restaurants did not receive funding before the fund ran out. In a letter Sent to congressional leaders on Wednesday, the association called for limiting tax increases under the Build Back Better Act and avoiding proposed technical fines for labor violations.
“Restaurants still need help today and flooding them with costly new obligations will only hinder progress in turning the tide of the recovery,” Kennedy wrote.
The National Restaurant Association estimates that 90,000 restaurants closed during the pandemic.
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