Omicron Variant Hit Restaurant Industry Hard; Replenishing the RRF Forecast to Save more than Florida Jobs

New survey from National Restaurant Association shows 50,000 jobs saved with first round of RRF Funding

TALLAHASSEE, FL– The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) 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) had on the Florida restaurant industry. According to National Restaurant Association analysis, the first round of RRF funding saved more than 50,000 jobs and helped 100% of recipients of a grant stay in business.


In addition, the survey found:


  • Nearly 41% of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants feel it’s unlikely that they will stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant.
  • 100% of restaurant operators that applied for an RRF grant, but did not receive funding, said a future grant would enable them to retain or hire back employees.


“This highlights how impactful RRF replenishment would be. The National Restaurant Association estimates indicate that full replenishment of the RRF will save an additional 95,000 restaurant jobs,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The RRF was a critical lifeline to many, but far more remain on the sidelines, desperately looking for support amidst continued economic uncertainty. The decisions Congress could make in the coming weeks will be critical toward the future of the restaurants that are so proud to serve our communities.”


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:


  • 73% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor on-premises dining in because of the omicron variant.
  • 51% of operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago.
  • 60% say their restaurant is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic.


“The new data show that restaurant recovery is paralyzed and nowhere near complete. The restaurant industry is at an inflection point, and Congress must act now to replenish the RRF,” said Dover.


Businesses can tell Congress to replenish the RRF here.


The Florida findings were provided by the National Restaurant Association Research Group, which conducted a COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey of 4,200 restaurant operators Jan. 16-18, 2022. Read the report of key Florida findings here.




About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We sponsor the industry’s largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.