Dec 8, 2020

Recent Data on the State of the Restaurant Industry in Wisconsin - Dec, 2020

Wisconsin Restaurant Association logoRecent Survey Shows Conditions Continue to Deteriorate for Wisconsin Restaurants

The National Restaurant Association recently completed a nationwide survey of 6,000 restaurant owners and operators from November 17 – 30, 2020 in their ongoing assessment to provide data-driven updates on the state of the restaurant industry due to the pandemic. Conditions continue to deteriorate for restaurants in Wisconsin and nationally.

COVID_WI_Timeline_DEC_otWisconsin Results

Highlights

88% of Wisconsin restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in October was lower than it was in October, 2019

Overall restaurant sales were down 39% on average

37% of Wisconsin operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government

46% of Wisconsin operators say they are considering temporarily closing their restaurant until the COVID-19 pandemic passes

Many restaurant operators are anticipating additional layoffs in the coming months

WI Restaurant Business Conditions

  • Consumer spending in Wisconsin restaurants remained well below normal levels in October. Eighty-eight percent of Wisconsin restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in October was lower than it was in October, 2019. Overall, sales were down 39% on average.
  • Most restaurant operators do not expect business conditions to improve in the coming months. Eighty-one percent of Wisconsin operators expect their sales to decrease from current levels during the next 3 months. Only 2% of operators expect their sales will increase from current levels during the next 3 months.
  • Even though sales were significantly lower for most restaurants, it doesn’t mean their costs also fell proportionally. Fifty-six percent of Wisconsin operators say their restaurant’s total labor costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only 25% of operators say their labor costs are lower, as a percent of sales.
  • With costs rising and sales falling, the result is added damage to the bottom line. Eighty-nine percent of Wisconsin operators say their restaurant’s profit margin is lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • With business conditions deteriorating, more federal government assistance is critical for the survival of many restaurants. Thirty-seven percent of Wisconsin operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.
  • Absent additional government assistance, one option is to close the restaurant until business conditions improve. Forty-six percent of Wisconsin operators say they are considering temporarily closing their restaurant until the COVID-19 pandemic passes. 

WI Restaurant Jobs

  • Although many restaurants added back employees after the initial lockdowns, overall staffing levels remain well below normal. Eighty-eight percent of Wisconsin operators say their current staffing level is lower than what it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. Fifty-three percent of restaurants are currently more than 20% below normal staffing levels.
  • With business conditions deteriorating, many restaurant operators are anticipating additional layoffs in the coming months. Fifty-two percent of Wisconsin operators expect their staffing levels to decline during the next 3 months. Only 3% of operators expect their staffing levels will rise during the next 3 months.

National Results

Restaurant Business Conditions

  • Consumer spending in restaurants remained well below normal levels in October. Seventy-nine percent of restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in October was lower than it was in October, 2019. Overall, sales were down 29% on average.
  • Most restaurant operators do not expect business conditions to improve in the coming months. Seventy-five percent of operators expect their sales to decrease from current levels during the next 3 months. Only 6% of operators expect their sales will increase from current levels during the next 3 months.
  • Even though sales were significantly lower for most restaurants, it doesn’t mean their costs also fell proportionally. Fifty-nine percent of operators say their restaurant’s total labor costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only 21% of operators say their labor costs are lower, as a percent of sales.
  • With costs rising and sales falling, the result is added damage to the bottom line. Eighty-six percent of operators say their restaurant’s profit margin is lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • With business conditions deteriorating, more federal government assistance is critical for the survival of many restaurants. Thirty-seven percent of operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.
  • Absent additional government assistance, one option is to close the restaurant until business conditions improve. Thirty-six percent of operators say they are considering temporarily closing their restaurant until the COVID-19 pandemic passes. 

Restaurant Jobs

  • Although many restaurants added back employees after the initial lockdowns, overall staffing levels remain well below normal. Eighty-one percent of operators say their current staffing level is lower than what it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. Forty-five percent of restaurants are currently more than 20% below normal staffing levels.
  • With business conditions deteriorating, many restaurant operators are anticipating additional layoffs in the coming months. Forty-nine percent of operators expect their staffing levels to decline during the next 3 months. Only 5% of operators expect their staffing levels will rise during the next 3 months. 

Source: National Restaurant Association, national survey of 6,000 restaurant operators conducted November 17 – 30, 2020

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is one of the largest trade associations in the state with over 7,000 member locations throughout Wisconsin.  The mission of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association is dedicated to the success of the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry.  The Association advocates on behalf of the restaurant industry, provides a voice for the restaurant industry to consumers and the media and provides access to information and services to help members better run their businesses.  WRA represents the entire foodservice industry which includes over 16,000 licensed food service establishments.

WRA membership includes a wide range of foodservice businesses representing virtually every size and style of restaurant in the state. Members include fine dining establishments, mom-and-pop supper clubs, small cafes, quick service restaurants, corporate chain restaurants, institutional food service operations, catering businesses and hotel and motel foodservice among others. 

- END -