Florida Restaurant Industry Financial Security in Danger of Being Wiped Out Without Congressional Relief

~More than $2.7 Billion in unfunded Florida Restaurant Revitalization Fund applications leave local small business owners in limbo~

[TALLAHASSEE] – Today, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), the National Restaurant Association, and other state restaurant association partners sent a letter to Congressional leadership sharing new national consumer confidence survey findings and urging swift replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Florida has more than 11,500 pending applications that total nearly $2.7 billion in stabilization funding that would be addressed by the $60 billion proposed replenishment bills.

The letter urges Congress to complete the mission of the RRF and provide adequate funds to replenish the program and offer relief for the applications still pending.

“There are thousands of Florida small business owners stuck in limbo waiting to find out if Congress will act to provide the stability they need to make it through this new pandemic threat and into the future,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association]. “The rise of coronavirus variants like delta threaten to push these restaurants closer to permanently closing their doors. It’s time for Congress to step in and fulfill the promise of the RRF.”

The National Restaurant Association survey found that nationally a majority of consumers have already changed their dining behavior, which is beginning to put acute pressure back on the restaurant industry. This faltering consumer confidence comes on top of restaurant labor costs at a 10-year high, increased food and supply prices, continued labor shortage issues, and crushing long-term debt loads for countless restaurant owners.

Specifically, the survey found the following:

  • 6 in 10 adults changed their restaurant use due to the rise in the delta variant
  • 19% of adults have stopped going out to restaurants
  • 9% have cancelled existing plans to go out to a restaurant in recent weeks
  • 37% have ordered takeout or delivery instead of going out to a restaurant
  • 19% have chosen to sit outside instead of inside when going out to a restaurant

“For an industry that requires a ‘full house’ every evening to make a profit, this is a dangerous trend,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “These changes indicate declining consumer confidence that will make it more difficult for most restaurant owners to maintain their delicate financial stability.”

Read the full letter sent to Congressional leadership here.