The Omicron variant hit the restaurant industry hard; Replenish Restaurant Revitalization Fund forecast to save 1.6 million jobs


WASHINGTON, January 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Restaurant Association today released new survey data highlighting the devastating impact the omicron variant has had so far and the positive impact the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has had on the industry. In a letter to Congress, the Association noted that the survey shows that the first round of RRF funding saved more than 900,000 jobs and helped 96 percent of grant recipients stay in business.

In addition, the investigation revealed:

  • Nearly 50% of restaurateurs who have done so do not receive RRF grants feel they are unlikely to remain in business beyond the pandemic without a grant.
  • 94% of restaurateurs who applied for a FRR subsidy, but did so do not receive funding, said a future grant would allow them to retain or rehire employees.

“This shows just how much of an impact replenishing the RRF would have. Our own estimates indicate that replenishing the RRF would save an additional 1.6 million restaurant jobs,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association. “The RRF was a vital lifeline for many, but many more remain on the sidelines, desperate for support amid continued economic uncertainty. The decisions you make in the weeks to come will be critical for the future of restaurants that are so proud to serve your communities.”

The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the latest wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Forced to adapt to deteriorating consumer confidence, restaurants have reduced opening hours/days, reduced seating and closed, turning to off-premises catering, the end result being volumes of lower sales in 2021 compared to 2019.

According to the survey, we know:

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

“New data shows that the restaurant recovery is crippled and far from complete. The restaurant industry is at an inflection point, and we need your leadership more than ever. Congress must act now, to replenish the RRF in the next legislative package to fund the government,” Kennedy said in the letter.

At, Monday, January 24, 2021at noon ET, the Association will be joined by two small business restaurateurs at a press conference to discuss the impact of the RRF replenishment on their businesses and employees. Kennedy will also be joined by Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the Association to provide the latest insight into the state of the restaurant industry. For more information on the press conference e-mail [email protected].

Read the full letter to Congress here.

The National Restaurant Association’s research group conducted the COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey of 4,200 restaurant owners January 16-18, 2022. Read the key findings report here.

About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading trade association for the restaurant industry, comprising 1 million food and beverage outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in washington d.c., and plead on his behalf. We sponsor the largest trade show in the industry (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique high school career development program (ProStart from NRAEF). For more information, visit and find us on Twitter@WeRRestaurants, Facebook and Youtube.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association


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