Three percent of restaurants have already permanently closed due to the coronavirus crisis, according to research from the National Restaurant Association. Forty-four percent of operators have temporarily closed their restaurants, and 11% anticipate they will permanently close within 30 days.
Restaurant sales dropped 47% across the U.S. from March 1 to March 22, and 54% of operators now offer off-premise services only, according to an NRA survey of more than 4,000 restaurant operators.
Seventy percent of restaurants surveyed have had to lay off employees and reduce workers' hours, and about half of restaurants expect further layoffs and hourly reductions in the next 30 days. More than 60% of restaurants have had to reduce their operating hours.
The association's research spotlights just how gutting the coronavirus crisis has been for the restaurant industry — and many market experts worry the damage done so far is just the tip of the iceberg.
"This is uncharted territory," Hudson Riehle, NRA SVP of research, said in a statement. "The industry has never experienced anything like this before."
Eighty-eight percent of restaurant operators also reported that total sales volumes between March 1 and March 22 this year was lower than it was during the year-ago period, per NRA research.