restaurant coronavirus timeline

How Coronavirus is Impacting Restaurants

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Disruption from Coronavirus has been especially significant for the restaurant industry. The economic slowdown, public markets in distress, supply chains interrupted, tourism coming to a halt, consumers staying at home (which — for many — translates to a lower disposable income), and huge uncertainty can have long-lived effects for many restaurant businesses. A global economic downturn is impacting businesses across the world, though there is a case to be made for why recessions are ultimately good for the restaurant industry.
This reveals the importance of having contingency and crisis plans in place (and, frankly, how common it is for chains to under-invest in the planning process). Ignoring macro risks is riskier than ever. Great corporate planning is about more than financial forecasts — and the more thorough it is, the less a CEO has to keep him or her awake at night.

GLOBAL IMPACT:

  • Between 3.1b–5.4b people in the world are projected to get the coronavirus (between 40%–70% of the population) within a year, according to a Harvard University epidemiologist
  • With a mortality rate of 3.4% (according to the World Health Organization), between 105m–184m people could die from the virus
  • This death rate is unprecedented since World War II, where some 75m people died — this means that coronavirus could be anywhere from 40%–145% more lethal
  • By comparison, foodborne illness affects 770m globally every year (and half of foodborne illnesses are estimated to be associated with restaurants), though it kills approximately 500k people
  • The average American knows 600 people, which means that — on average — 20 people you know may die
  • Some estimates put global dine-in traffic for full-service restaurants down 89% year-over-year as of March 18th (comparisons are daily)

Coronavirus effect on global restaurant traffic

ECONOMIC IMPACT:

  • 49% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck (FNBO) and one-third of the population is a $400 expense away from financial hardship (and having to either borrow or not be able to cover an unexpected cost)
  • The average foodservice worker, making $10/hour, could lose up to $400 of income — assuming they miss 5 days of work with sickness
  • At the start of the 2008 financial crisis (September–November ’08), the S&P500 restaurant stock index lost $26b in market cap; between February 19–28, 2020 (when the worst of the coronavirus fears impacted the market) the loss was $42b
  • Global stock markets lost $6t in less than a week after the effects of coronavirus began to ripple throughout industries

U.S. RESTAURANT IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS:

  • There are more than 15.3m restaurant industry employees in the U.S. alone, servicing roughly one million foodservice establishments (source: National Restaurant Association)
  • Labor costs represent an average of 30% of standard unit-level revenue for most restaurants; any reduction in revenues has a dramatic impact on the P&L at a unit-level
  • More than 170m Americans visit some type of eatery every day (source: TTRA)
  • Social distancing recommendations which have been issued by both federal and local governments around the world reduce demand drivers for restaurants (including movie theaters, concert venues, etc.) further impact the industry
  • Naturally, many Americans will be planning to stay home and restrict dining out, so we can expect to see plenty of empty restaurants, but delivery drivers are not the salvation — rather, they’re the pollen bees of the virus, as they fly from delivery to delivery, potentially spreading sickness among families contained in their homes
  • Publicly traded restaurants in the U.S. lost $152b in market capitalization in 42 days (from February 10 to March 23); that’s equivalent to: 2.9 times the current total market cap of airlines, or 2.2 times the market cap of hotels, motels, and cruise lines, or 2.5 times the market cap of the clothing industry

US-restaurants-market-cap-lost-to-coronavirus
This crisis represents an opportunity to develop new ways to mitigate risk. Some solutions will come from new food safety and sanitation programs (food handling, preparation, packaging, etc.), but alternative formats and technological developments — even applications from other industries — will be critical to navigating the waters to find a profitable way forward. Restoring some of the core tenets of hospitality, including empathetic listening, can also be a benefit to the industry in the longer term.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY CORONAVIRUS TIMELINE

It’s amazing how fast this crisis is moving and how transformative and long-lasting the consequences will be, globally. Here we present a timeline for the Coronavirus crisis from the viewpoint of the restaurant industry to understand what policies are in place and what the top players are doing. We’ll be updating as developments continue to unfold. Moreover, it is recommended to hire a COVID 19 Business Sanitization Services company to help you with the disinfection process.

December / January / February

March

April

May

June

July

December 31, 2019

Government of Wuhan, China Confirms Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

The Chinese government announces that dozens of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause have been treated, effectively the start of the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak.
December 31, 2019
January 28, 2020

Starbucks Closes more than 2,000 Stores in China

Following the spread of the outbreak throughout China, Starbucks announces it will be closing more than half of its 4,300 locations in the country.
January 28, 2020
February 6, 2020

Yum! Brands Down ~50% in China

Same-store sales for Yum China brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) are down between 40-50% since the Lunar New Year.
February 6, 2020
February 12, 2020

NYC Chinatown Restaurants Reportedly Down 40% in February

Chinese-American businesses are hit hard based on perceptions of the novel coronavirus which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. In New York’s Chinatown, restaurant sales are down 40% in February, with some restaurants seeing negative sales growth of up to 80% since the Lunar New Year (at the end of January).
February 12, 2020
March 1, 2020

Restaurant Sales in Seattle Down 10%

The first epicenter of the virus in the U.S., Seattle restaurants take a hit in the last week of February with some restaurants down as much as 40%, and the overall industry seeing a 10% drop. Online grocery and meal kit sales were the only foodservice category showing growth in the market over the same time period.
March 1, 2020
March 5, 2020

AA&A Publishes Initial Insights about Foodservice Employees on the Front Lines

Coronavirus could challenge geopolitical tensions in a way not seen since WWII and — if the forecasts are right — it could be even more deadly (by 2x). Foodservice workers are on the front lines and a vulnerable portion of the population not well equipped for the double whammy of lost wages and sudden, unexpected healthcare costs. There is legitimate potential of a WWIII-level crisis brewing.
March 5, 2020
March 9, 2020

Postmates Announces Contactless Delivery

In efforts to reduce person-to-person contact, delivery company Postmates launches “contactless delivery” using dropoff points and other preferences for customers to receive their goods.
March 9, 2020
March 9, 2020

Darden launches paid-sick leave for hourly workers

The parent company of casual dining brands Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and others announces that employees can accrue one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked. Darden was the first company to announce a relief plan for front-line employees, who are often forced to work even when sick — at the risk of contaminating others — because of limited paid time off benefits.
March 9, 2020
March 11, 2020

Starbucks Offers Catastrophe Pay

In an effort to allow employees to quarantine for 14 days if impacted by the coronavirus, Starbucks offers “catastrophe pay” — a strategy the company has used previously if stores had to close for an extended period.
March 11, 2020
March 12, 2020

Tom Douglas Closes 12 Restaurants, Lays Off Staff

Leading Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas announces that 12 of his 13 Seattle-based restaurants will close and the company will be laying off a majority of staff. A company representative said sales were down 90% since the outbreak of Coronavirus in the city.
March 12, 2020
March 13, 2020

New York Cuts Capacity by 50%

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that all restaurants and bars across the state must limit capacity by 50%.
March 13, 2020
March 13, 2020

Union Square Hospitality Group Closes Restaurants

The first major restaurant group to announce blanket closings, New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group announces all 19 of its locations will close indefinitely. Employees are told they will be paid through March 18, can use accrued PTO for additional payment, and will be put on “unpaid leave” to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
March 13, 2020
March 13, 2020

Grubhub Waives Select Fees for Independents

Grubhub temporarily suspends collection of up to $100 million in marketing fees from independent restaurants across the U.S. (though these fees will have to be paid to Grubhub after the deferral period).
March 13, 2020
March 13, 2020

OpenTable reports reservations down 36% YOY in the U.S.

While February performance remained steady (largely due to Valentine’s Day), new data from OpenTable shows restaurant reservations sliding in the U.S. to the tune of down 36% year-over-year.
March 13, 2020
March 13, 2020

Aaron Allen Interview with CGTV

Showing how quickly the industry is being impacted, Aaron Allen does an interview on the COVID-19 crisis and restaurants with CGTN America — which now feels like ancient history given the restaurant industry response.
March 13, 2020
March 14, 2020

Spain, France Close Restaurants

In tandem with other country-wide initiatives in an effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus, both Spain and France close all restaurants.
March 14, 2020
March 15, 2020

Massachusetts Closes Dine-In Restaurants

Restaurants across Massachusetts are restricted to delivery and takeout service only with all on-premise dining suspended in the state through at least April 6.
March 15, 2020
March 15, 2020

Saudi Arabia Closes malls, parks, restaurants, and cafes

In efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, Saudi Arabia closed all malls, parks, restaurants, and cafes across the country. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and food delivery were exempt from the ban.
March 15, 2020
March 16, 2020

Illinois, Ohio, and California order restaurants to close or restrict capacity

Following CDC recommendations of prohibiting gatherings of 50+ people for 8 weeks, governors in Illinois, Ohio, and California move to restrict restaurant capacities and encourage closing dining rooms and reducing capacity. Eating out, in general, is further discouraged by governments.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

Germany and France Implement Lockdown Restrictions

French President Emanuel Macron announces “we are at war” when ordering a lockdown. Both France and Germany implement unprecedented levels of restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

New Rules in Boston & D.C.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announces a new rule mandating restaurants and bars maintain capacity of less than 250 people. Similarly, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh orders restaurants, bars, and nightclubs reduce capacity by 50%.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

Uber Eats Offers Relief to Restaurants

Saying that they want restaurants to be able to “focus on food, not finances,” Uber Eats announces an option for daily payouts to help restaurants with cash flow, and will waive fees for independent restaurants.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

Chick-fil-A Suspends Dine In

Continuing efforts by leading chains to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Chick-fil-A announced it would be closing its dining rooms and switching to a take-out and delivery-only model.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

White House Coronavirus Taskforce Advises Against Gatherings of 10+

The White House directly advises citizens to “avoid eating and drinking in bars, restaurants, and public food courts” during Coronavirus Task Force updates.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020

Domino’s Launches Contactless Delivery

Domino’s announces that customers can now select pre-payment and pre-tipping options to minimize hand-to-hand contact during deliveries, with pizzas being left on a “safe and clean surface” until being picked up by the customer.
March 16, 2020
March 17, 2020

OpenTable Cites Restaurant Traffic Down 48%

On a year-over-year basis — based on walk-ins, on-line, and phone reservations — restaurant traffic is estimated down 48% in the U.S. in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

ThinkFoodGroup Moves to Takeout, “Community Kitchens”

Jose Andres-led ThinkFoodGroup announced it would be closing dining rooms in all D.C. and NYC restaurants, moving to a takeout focus. Restaurants would be repurposed as community kitchens, offering affordable meals to-go.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Doordash Waives Commissions

In response to the Coronavirus epidemic, DoorDash announces it will waive its commission for new independent restaurants in the U.S. that signup for the platform for 30 days, and that existing DoorDash restaurants will not pay commission fees on pickup orders.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Trump has Call with Top Restaurant Chain Leaders

CEOs and Presidents of leading national and international chains have a phone call with President Donald Trump to discuss the transition to off-premise operations and the restaurant industry’s role in stemming the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

McDonald’s Corporate Closes Dine-In

Quick service giant McDonald’s announces its corporate locations will close dining areas. Restaurants will still be offering delivery and takeout.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Resy Moves to Takeout Focus

Online restaurant reservation system Resy launches updates allowing restaurants to sell “takeout meals” that enable guests to book a meal to-go.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Colorado Closes Dine-In Restaurants, casinos, theaters, distilliries, pubs, and gyms

Following an announcement by Governor Jared Polis restaurants in Colorado have migrated to delivery and takeout only to prevent the spread of coronavirus. More densely populated cities, like Denver, ordered restaurants not to seat patrons in restaurants until May 11.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Florida Restaurants Reduce Capacity by Half

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered that restaurants operate at half capacity to help patrons maintain safe social distancing standards. Bars and nightclubs in the state were also shut down for 30 days.
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Many Large Chains Suspend Dine-In Operations

Dunkin’, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Wendy’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Golden Corral and other large brands across the country suspend dine-in service.
March 17, 2020
March 18, 2020

NYC Restaurants Move to Delivery & Takeout Only

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces that restaurants in the city must close dine-in facilities and move to a delivery- and takeout-only model.
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020

NRA Recovery & Relief Proposal

The National Restaurant Association presents a restaurants recovery and relief proposal to the White House with projections of more than $225b in sales losses and 5–7 million jobs lost.
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020

Eatertainment Chains Close

With many eatertainment chains relying mostly on games (rather than food and beverage) driving sales, many — including Chuck E. Cheese’s, Dave & Buster’s, and Main Event have been forced to close locations and in many cases furlough employees.
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020

USHG Lays Off 2,000 Employees

New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group led by Danny Meyer announces they will be laying off about 80% of its staff, equivalent to 2,000 employees. The company said it will continue to cover medical insurance premiums for employees through mid-April.
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020

L.A. Small Business Loans

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announces $11m in no-interest microloans for small businesses, including restaurants, trying to help them stay afloat.
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020

Subway Reduces Franchisee Royalties by Half

Expecting at least two months of steep sales declines, Subway — the largest fast-food chain measured by number of units — reduces royalties and ad funding by 50% for its franchisees, in addition to offering to support operators with rent abatement, reduction, and deferral.
March 18, 2020
March 19, 2020

Cameron Mitchell Announces Temporary Closures

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants announces it will be closing restaurants temporarily and laying-off 4,500 employees.
March 19, 2020
March 19, 2020

Domino’s Announces Need for 10,000 Employees

Domino’s announces the need for 10,000 full-time and part-time employees to support increased demand for delivery.
March 19, 2020
March 20, 2020

Logan’s Roudhouse, Old Chicago Parent Company Closes 261 Restaurants

Cratworks Holdings, the owner of Logan’s Roudhouse and Old Chicago, announces it will be closing 261 locations after a lender withdrew financing which was keeping the restaurants operational. The company was already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and it is unclear if restaurants will re-open, even after the COVID-19 impacts pass.
March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020

Starbucks Closes Cafes, Open as Drive-Thru Only

Starbucks announced that many cafes across the U.S. and Canada will close, and those open will only offer drive-thru and carry out services. Starbucks President Rossann Williams said in a statement, “Let’s be real. Lattes aren’t ‘essential.'”
March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020

Many QSR Franchisors Announce Relief Efforts

Leading QSR Franchisors including Subway, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Qdoba make efforts to reduce the financial impact on franchisees, including deferring franchise fees and rent payments.
March 20, 2020
March 21, 2020

Starbucks Increases Pay by $3/Hour

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced the company would be giving all employees a $3/hour raise for those who are still able to go to work. The service pay will be in effect from March 21–April 19.
March 21, 2020
March 23, 2020

McDonald’s and Nando’s Temporarily Closes All Restaurants in UK, Ireland

In efforts to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, McDonald’s and Nando’s both shut down their operations — including for takeout — in the UK and Ireland. McDonald’s cited that “busy takeaway and drive-thru restaurants” was making it increasingly difficult to maintain safe social distancing practices.
March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020

UAE Restaurants Move to Delivery-Only

In alignment with similar policies in neighboring countries, restaurants in the UAE — and Dubai, specifically — close down all dine-in operations for at least two weeks. Fresh fish, meat, and vegetable markets are also shut down across the Emirates.
March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020

Pizza Hut Announces 30,000 Open Positions

Based on rapidly increased demand, Pizza Hut goes on a hiring blitz of 30,000 positions focused on contactless delivery, carryout, and curbside pickup. The company announced that applicants could be hired, trained and on the road packing pizzas within five hours.
March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020

Instacart Plans to Hire 300,000 Shoppers

Having seen order volume grow more than 150% in the last week alone, and the average basket size increasing 15% over the same period, Instacart announces plans to hire 300,000 additional personal shoppers to support demand. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent to one-third of the workforce of the U.S.’s largest restaurant chain.
March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020

Papa John’s Hiring 20,000 Employees

In addition to other pizza restaurants, Papa John’s announces it will be hiring 20,000 employees to help meet demand. Employees can apply via text and have the opportunity to start on the same day.
March 23, 2020
March 24, 2020

Luby’s Closes 35 Locations, Cuts HQ Staff

Luby’s announces that 35 of its remaining 72 locations in the face of COVID-19 concerns, and reduces head office staff by about 50% to cut costs.
March 24, 2020
March 24, 2020

National Restaurant Show Cancels Annual Show

Originally scheduled for May 16–19 in Chicago, the National Restaurant Association cancels its annual Show following guidance from the CDC and Illinois Governor.
March 24, 2020
March 25, 2020

Punch Bowl Social Closes All Locations, Goes Into Foreclosure

Eatertainment chain Punch Bowl Social suspended operations at all 19 of its locations across the U.S. and subsequently laid off all employees and filed for bankruptcy. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ: CRBL) entered into a strategic partnership with PBS in July 2019 and opted not to invest further citing “substantial uncertainties” given the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

Waffle House Closes 365 Locations

Family dining chain Waffle House announced it will be closing 365 locations across the country. This move is seen as especially telling, as “The Waffle House Index” is often a metric used to gauge how critical a natural disaster has impacted an area. In its announcement, the company posted “#WaffleHouseIndexRed”.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

Yum! Announces Closures of 7,000 Global Restaurants

Parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, and The Habit Burger Grill — Yum Brands announced the closure of 7,000 locations around the world (the company has 50,000+ stores worldwide). Same-store sales are down 20–25% for the month of March. Yum also borrowed $525m from its revolving credit facility on March 24.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

India on “Total Lockdown”

India, the world’s second-largest population with 1.3 billion people, is told to shelter in place in the largest coronavirus lockdown to date.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

McDonald’s Streamlines Menu

To help simplify operations, McDonald’s announced it would be streamlining its menu during the continued coronavirus outbreak, focusing on offering the most popular items.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

Yum Suspends $2b in Buybacks

In an effort to better support employees and franchisees in the era of coronavirus, Yum Brands announced a suspension of its $2 billion share buyback plan. Stock prices improved 4.6% on the day of the announcement.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

Cheesecake Factory Tells Landlords They Won’t Make April 1 Rent

Leading casual dining chain The Cheesecake would not be able to make April 1 rent payments in the face of the unprecedented economic impact from the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has closed 27 of its restaurants in recent weeks and locations that remain open are focused on takeout and delivery only.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020

U.S. Senate Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus

In an effort to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passes a $2 trillion stimulus package including direct cash payments to Americans and credits for struggling industries.
March 25, 2020
March 26, 2020

Global Death Toll Surpasses 20,000

The global death toll from coronavirus-related infections surpassed 20,000.
March 26, 2020
March 26, 2020

Jobless Claims in the U.S. Hit Record High

Far surpassing the Great Recession (2009) numbers, jobless claims in the U.S. surge to 3.28 million in the face of the economic shutdown.
March 26, 2020
March 26, 2020

Panera Implements Contactless Delivery, Emergency Sick Pay for Employees

JAB Holding-owned Panera Bread announces it will be using “mindful packaging” along with free, contactless delivery in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The company has also started emergency sick pay (covering the cost of COVID-19 testing and expanded sick leave with pay for those who need to be quarantined).
March 26, 2020
March 26, 2020

Chipotle Increases Hourly Pay 10%

Fast-casual leader Chipotle announced 10% raises as “appreciation pay” for employees who are working during the coronavirus crisis, through April 12. Emergency leave benefits for those affected by the virus were also put in place.
March 26, 2020
March 27, 2020

Cheesecake Factory Furlougs 41,000 Employees

Following announcements that it would not be able to make April rent payments, The Cheesecake Factory furloughed 41,000 employees and CEO, David Overton, announced a 20% salary cut for the year.
March 27, 2020
March 27, 2020

CEO of Bravo and Brio Chains Says 71 Closed Restaurants May Not Re-Open

Bravo Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille temporarily closed 71 of their 92 locations across the U.S. earlier in March. CEO Steve Layt, who was poised to launch a turnaround for the brands, said — depending on how much longer COVID-19 lasts, the closed locations may not be reopened.
March 27, 2020
March 30, 2020

Yum! CEO Donates Salary to Employees

Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs announced that he would be foregoing his salary for 2020 and donating the money to bonuses for general managers ($1,000 payments to GMs of company-owned units) and an employee relief fund to help counteract the impacts of the coronavirus.
March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020

Ruth’s Chris Closes 23 Restaurants

In an effort to shore up its financial position, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is closing 23 of its 135 locations across the U.S. The company’s executives will also be taking pay cuts in addition to furloughing a “significant number of field and home office team members.”
March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020

U.S. Government Extends Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30

Following accelerated growth of cases in the United States with a number of new “hot spot” cities, President Trump announces social distancing guidelines will remain in effect until April 30. This is in contrast to earlier goals of having the country back to a semblance of normalcy by Easter (April 13).
March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020

Expo 2020 Dubai Committee Recommends One-Year Postponement

At the request of many member states, the Expo 2020 Dubai steering committee announced a likely postponement of the World’s Fair-style event until 2021. The United Arab Emirates supported the proposal to help overcome the challenges of COVID-19.
March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020

Mexico City Restaurants Closed to Dine-In, Open for Takeout/Delivery

Mexico City declares a sanitary emergency and mandates restaurants to close to the public, except for takeout and delivery. The measure will be in place until at least April 30th.
March 30, 2020
March 31, 2020

German, Spanish, Belgian, Italian and British authorities call citizens to work the fields and avoid agricultural losses

Across Europe, officials called on citizens to support the food supply. Farms in Western Europe often rely on laborers from Eastern Europe during the harvest — now restricted due to travel bans in the face of COVID-19.
March 31, 2020
April 1, 2020

Ohio Restaurant Association Estimates $700m in Lost Sales, 100k Job Loses in March

Ohio’s Restaurant Association quantified the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s restaurant industry. Initial estimates for just the first three weeks of March saw losses of nearly $700m in sales and more than 100,000 layoffs.
April 1, 2020
April 1, 2020

Preliminary Estimates Show 20% of U.S. Restaurants Could Close Permanently

According to a UBS note published April 1, some 20% of restaurants across the U.S. may not re-open following the coronavirus pandemic. This could mean more than 200,000 restaurants keeping their doors closed and a loss of millions of jobs.
April 1, 2020
April 1, 2020

Red Robin Announces Double Off-Premise Sales

In the face of the coronavirus panic casual dining burger chain Red Robin announced it had doubled off-premise sales above pre-COVID-19 levels. This is helping to offset the impact of closures of nearly all of the company’s on-premise sales.
April 1, 2020
April 1, 2020

U.S. Paycheck Protection Program Announces More Detail

Small businesses in the U.S. — companies with 500 or fewer employees — will be able to apply for the newly founded Paycheck Protection Program starting April 3. The program was designed as a lifeline for SMBs to keep people employed throughout the coronavirus crisis, and loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses.
April 1, 2020
April 2, 2020

Record-Breaking 6.6 Million Americans File Unemployment Claims

In numbers not seen in American history, 6.6 million Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits in the week ended March 28.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Global Confirmed Cases Passes 1 Million

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpasses 1,000,000 — with the majority in the United States, followed by Italy and Spain. Global deaths have surpassed 50,000.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Aramark Cuts Executive Salaries by 25%, Furloughs Select Employees

Serving primarily large-scale facilities (schools, stadiums, concert venues, etc.) which have been hard-hit by social distancing regulations, Aramark is reducing executive compensation by 25% and furloughing some employees in response to the crisis. The company is also reducing the cash retainer fee of its board members by 25% temporarily.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Shake Shack Sales Down 70%

Being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic fast-casual burger chain Shake Shack announced sales were down 70% and the company would be furloughing or laying off 20% of head office staff.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Starbucks Extends Cafe Closures to May 3

Extending upon an announcement made March 21, Starbucks extends the closure of its in-store cafes through May 3. The company’s $3 per hour “Service Pay” raises are also continued on the same timeline.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Eleven Madison Park Partners with ReThink Non-Profit

In a partnership with ReThink, a nonprofit organization that uses excess food from grocery stores and restaurants to make free or low-cost meals for New Yorkers in need Michelin-Starred Eleven Madison Park will serve as a commissary to help provide meals to hospital workers across NYC.
April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Dave & Buster’s Furloughs All Employees, Considers Sale

With all venues closed, eatertainment chain Dave & Buster’s announced it would be taking significant cash-saving measures, including furloughing 15,000 hourly employees, reducing management and corporate staff by 90%, and pausing new store construction and remodels on existing units. The company is considering possible stake sales with private equity firms, as well.
April 2, 2020
April 6, 2020

Potential TGI Friday’s Deal Called Off

After considering going public, casual dining chain TGI Friday’s called off potential IPO plans after a large investment company backed out of a planned $380m merger. “Extraordinary market conditions” were cited as the main reason for the change in the deal.
April 6, 2020
April 6, 2020

Chick-fil-A Adding Hand-washing Sinks at Drive Thru

Furthering efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, QSR leader Chick-fil-A will be adding handwashing sinks to its drive-thru lines. The company is already operating with closed dining rooms, focusing on delivery and takeout options.
April 6, 2020
April 7, 2020

BJ’s Lays Off 16,000 Hourly Employees

Even though it is keeping all locations open for delivery/off-premise service, BJ’s Restaurants laid off 16,000 hourly employees. The company is also suspending rent/lease payments for the month of April.
April 7, 2020
April 7, 2020

Wingstop SSS up 8.9% in the last two weeks of March

One of the few restaurant companies announcing positive news, Wingstop grew sales in the last two weeks of March, even with a business model well-positioned for the transition to fully off-premise sales.
April 7, 2020
April 7, 2020

Subway Tests Grocery Delivery

Nearly 100 Subway restaurants are testing the sale of grocery ingredients — including bags of lettuce and frozen soups — in lieu of prepared foods as an alternative to grocery stores for customers. The test is based in Southern California preliminarily, and it’s unclear if it will be expanded further.
April 7, 2020
April 8, 2020

Leading Brands Announce SSS Drops

Companies start to announce quantified impacts of the coronavirus, with The Cheesecake Factory posting comps down 46% in March and Denny’s releasing Q1 2020 sales were down 6% with a 19% decline in March alone.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Darden Furloughs 20% of Corporate Staff, 150,000 Hourly Employees

With sales down more than 70% over each of the last three weeks, casual dining leader Darden announced furloughs of 20% of corporate staff and 150,000 hourly employees, despite significant increases in off-premise sales at its brands.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Starbucks Closing 850 Stores Across Japan

With a state of emergency declared in Japan Starbucks closed 850 locations across the country in Tokyo, Osaka, and five other prefectures.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

MTY Food Group closes 2,100 restaurants, Lays of 50% of Staff

The parent company of Papa Murphy’s Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry, MTY Food Group, closed 2,100 locations (of its 6,000+ across North America) and temporarily laid off 50% of its workforce. Company executives have also taken voluntary pay cuts.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Panera Makes Grocery Pivot

In the face of drastically falling restaurant sales Panera Bread launched a grocery service, selling breads, bagels, milk, yogurt, cream cheese, and fresh produce directly to customers.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

McDonald’s Cuts CAPEX Spending by $1b

To help offset impacts of coronavirus, including same-store sales dropping 13%+ in March, McDonald’s plans to reduce capital expenditure by $1b in 2020 (funds that were going to be allocated to the company’s Restaurant of the Future initiative). CEO and President Chris Kempczinski will also be taking a 50% pay cut for the year.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Starbucks Pledges $10m in Grants to Impacted Employees

Through its new Global Partner Emergency Relief Program, Starbucks has donated $10m in grants to support employees in “disaster designated areas” with housing and utilities, sudden loss of home, death of a family member or partner, and other related expenses.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Tilman Fertitta Seeking $250m to Improve Liquidity

With more than 600 restaurants impacted by the pandemic, Tilman Fertitta is looking for $250m in funding to shore up liquidity.
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020

Half of U.S. Starbucks Closed, Sales Down 70%

Of the 8,800 company-owned Starbucks locations in the U.S., only 44% are operational and the company announced that sales were down 70% in the last week of March.
April 8, 2020
April 9, 2020

Taco Bell Launches Temperature Checks, Employees Wear Masks

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, QSR Taco Bell expanded safety precautions to include contactless credit card payments, using trays to pass sealed bags to customers, temperature checks for employees prior to starting shifts, and the use of masks for employees handling food.
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020

NRA Writes Congressional Leadership

Citing “increasing warning signs”, the National Restaurant Association reaches out to Congress stating that more funds will be needed to save operators (and their employees) during the COVID-19 crisis. The Association projects March and April revenue losses for the industry will near $100 billion.
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020

CDC updates best practices for restaurant staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated recommended safeguards for restaurant employees to include temperature checks and wearing facemasks for employees who believe they have been exposed to the virus.
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020

Additional 6.6m Jobless Claims in U.S., Total Now Exceeds 16m

A new jobs report shows another 6.6 million Americans filed jobless claims in the last week, now bringing the total to more than 16 million unemployed — the equivalent to losing 10% of the workforce — and far outstripping the job loses from the last recession.
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020

Black Box Data Indicates March Restaurant Sales Down 28.3%

With same-store sales dropping 65% in just the last two weeks of March, Black Box Intelligence, with a sample size of 50,000 restaurants and $75 billion in annual sales, announced sales were down 28.3% in March.
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020

Toast POS Cuts Staff

Point of Sale provider Toast laid off half of its staff following an 80% drop in restaurant sales in March.
April 9, 2020
April 10, 2020

DoorDash Reduces Commission Fees for Independents

For restaurants with five or fewer locations, DoorDash is reducing commission fees by 50%, and the fee reductions will not have to be repaid through May.
April 10, 2020
April 10, 2020

Yum Brands providing masks to employees and performing temperature checks

In alignment with the new CDC recommendations, KFC and Taco Bell, sister brands under Yum! have started to distribute masks to employees as well as take temperatures of employees in efforts to help prevent the spread of the virus.
April 10, 2020
April 10, 2020

Consumer Sentiment Sees Largest Recorded Drop

University of Michigan’s surveys of consumers recorded the largest drop in consumer sentiment ever recorded — a decrease of 18.1 points in early April. Combined with the decline in March, the two-month drop of 30 index points is 50% higher than the previous record.
April 10, 2020
April 10, 2020

Just Salad Launches Grocery Arm

Following a growing trend in the industry, fast-casual chain Just Salad launched “Just Grocery”, an option that allows customers to order pantry items or prepared meal kits to be delivered within 90 minutes in Manhattan.
April 10, 2020
April 11, 2020

Bravo Brio Parent Files for Bankruptcy

On the heels of closing 71 units in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent company of casual dining chains Bravo Fresh Italian and Brio Italian Mediterranean filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is reportedly considering seeking a buyer.
April 11, 2020
April 11, 2020

San Francisco Caps Fees Paid to Delivery Companies

For as long as the pandemic impact lasts, third-party delivery companies can charge no more than 15% for restaurants in San Francisco — the first major city which has implemented such regulations.
April 11, 2020
April 13, 2020

McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Implement New Safety Procedures

In addition to providing masks for employees, leading chains including McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Dunkin’ have all started to distribute masks to employees and making efforts to reduce person-to-person contact, including no-pin debit transactions and not requiring signatures on credit card slips.
April 13, 2020
April 13, 2020

Darden Directors Take Pay Cut

Parent company of Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, and others, Darden board of directors approved a 50% reduction in cash compensation for non-employee directors.
April 13, 2020
April 13, 2020

Spain Relaxes Lockdown Restrictions

While shops, bars, and public spaces will remain closed, Spain has started to relax lockdown measures as the daily death toll in the country is consistently declining.
April 13, 2020
April 14, 2020

First Watch Temporarily Closes All Locations

After first migrating to delivery-only service initially, breakfast chain Frist Watch temporarily closed all of its locations. The company is continuing its managers’ healthcare benefits and covering all out of pocket medical costs during the closure.
April 14, 2020
April 15, 2020

Red Robin Closes 35 Locations, Reduces HO Support

Even though carry-out business at the chain is up, Red Robin is temporarily closing 35 of its corporate locations, all of which are based in malls, and furloughed impacted staff. The company also reduced corporate support staff by 50 positions and temporarily cut pay by 20% for all non-furloughed head office and support staff.
April 15, 2020
April 15, 2020

White House Starts Foodservice Industry Panel for ‘Economic Revival’ Group

In an effort to help work toward re-opening the economy, the White House created a food-and-beverage-focused panel as a part of President Trump’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. Industry leaders on the panel include NRA Interim CEO and President Marvin Irby, McDonald’s CEO and President Chris Kempczinski, Darden CEO and President Gene Lee, Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson, and chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, among others.
April 15, 2020
April 15, 2020

Jack-in-the-Box Expects 4.2% Sales Decline

QSR operator Jack-in-the-Box is projecting a same-store sales decrease of 4.2% for the second quarter (ended April 12). The company is reducing and postponing marketing fees and negotiating rent and property payments to help shore up its financial position as well.
April 15, 2020
April 15, 2020

Large Chains Land PPP Loans

In the face of many small “mom-and-pop” independent restaurants struggling, large chains including Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly announced their collection of PPP loans across the system. Some chains are facing criticism when filing for loans as individual subsidiaries under a larger brand umbrella, citing a potential loophole in the Small Business Administration (SBA) categorization.
April 15, 2020
April 16, 2020

U.S. Retails See Largest Drop in History

A preliminary report from the Commerce Department projects a decrease of 8.7% in U.S. retail sales in the month of March. This is the single largest monthly decline since the Commerce Department started tracking retail sales in 1992.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

Additional 5.2m Unemployment Claims

Bringing the total to 22m Americans over the last four weeks, an additional 5.2m first-time unemployment claims were made the week of April 6. This amounts to roughly 13.5% of the total workforce out of a job since March 14.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

Starbucks Considers Re-Opening Select Cafes

In what is being described as a phase of “monitor and adapt” Starbucks CEO announced to employees that the company is looking to begin reopening select locations in the U.S., starting with drive-thru and takeaway only. Starbucks locations in Wuhan, China — where the virus is believed to have originated — are already open again.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

CKE Restaurants Reduces Head Office Staff by 30%

The parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. furloughed 30% of head office staff in the wake of COVID-19 dramatically reducing sales across the system. The company is continuing to offering health care benefits and covering premiums for employees.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

Pizza Hut to Add Curbside Pick-Up

In addition to other safety measures including facemasks for employees and temperature checks prior to work shifts, Pizza Hut is expanding contactless ordering and pickup as well as tamper-proof safety seals on pizza boxes.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

Bloomin’ Brands Triples Off-Premise Sales in March

The parent company of Outback, Carrabba’s, Bonefish, and Fleming’s announced that off-premise sales nearly tripled in March, though blended same-store sales were still down 10.4% across the system.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

KSA Pledges $500m in Coronavirus Support

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will allocate $500m to coronavirus relief, focusing on emergency and preparedness response, as well as developing and deploying new diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

New York State Stay at Home Order Extended

Seeing benefits from the stay at home order including reduced hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and intubations across the state New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the order through at least May 15. He says he’ll use data to inform further decision-making for the state’s status.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

Pressurized Drive-Thru Window Unveiled

A fully automated burger concept called Creator, based in San Francisco, released an open-sourced pressurized takeout window designed to help operators with a contactless takeout window.
April 16, 2020
April 16, 2020

BJ’s Furloughs Total of 240 Corporate Employees/Restaurant Managers

In addition to closing four restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic,BJ’s Restaurant’s furloughed 200 restaurant managers and 40 corporate support staff. The company will also reduce The company said it would reduce, the salaries of support center employees making $100,000 a year or more by 10% to 20%, on a sliding scale, starting April 22.
April 16, 2020
April 17, 2020

White House Shares Guidelines for Reopening Restaurants and Bars

Taking a phased approach to “Opening Up America”, the White House coronavirus task force announced preliminary plans to reopen restaurants and bars. Sit-down restaurants are planned to open first, followed by bars though no timeline has been formalized yet.
April 17, 2020
April 17, 2020

Subway Enhances Safety Protocols

In a coronavirus update, Subway restaurants — the largest chain in the world based on number of units — announced enhanced cleaning procedures and efforts to source face masks and protective shields for employees on the front lines.
April 17, 2020
April 17, 2020

LA Mandates Delivery Platforms Provide Protective Gear to Drivers

A long-considered potential downside of third-party delivery from operators, many believe that the intermediary step of delivery between restaurant and customer could compromise health and safety. In efforts to provide additional safety measures, Los Angeles County mandates that employers provide protective equipment to delivery drivers until the California stay-at-home order is lifted.
April 17, 2020
April 17, 2020

Shake Shack Sells Stock, Lays off Hundreds

Popular fast-casual chain Shake Shack is taking efforts to sell stock to try to shore up its cash situation. The company, which also laid off hundreds of employees, has $112m in cash on hand but is reportedly burning through $1.2–$1.5m per week in covering costs.
April 17, 2020
April 19, 2020

Shake Shack Announces Return of PPP Loan

Following the stock sale to gain liquidity, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti explained the company’s decision to return the $10m in PPP funds made available through the CARES Act. He said the process was confusing and complicated for businesses and urged Congress to make changes to future bills to support restaurants, specifically.
April 19, 2020
April 19, 2020

50,000 Restaurants in Italy Could be Out of Business

An Italian lobbying group focused on restaurants and bars, Fipe, is estimating that nearly one-sixth of the country’s restaurants and bars could be closed for good following the coronavirus pandemic.
April 19, 2020
April 20, 2020

Roark Capital Buys $200m Stake in The Cheesecake Factory

The owner of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, Roark Capital, acquired 200,000 shares of The Cheesecake Factory for $200m. Roark will not be able to take control of Cheesecake for at least three years (or its stake is reduced to below 5% of shares outstanding) and adds a seat to Cheesecake’s board for Roark President Paul Ginsberg.
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

Georgia Becomes First State to Announce Reopening of Dining Rooms

Following an announcement by the Governor, Georgia will become the first state to open its dining rooms in the U.S. Restaurants will still need to follow strict sanitation and social distancing rules, however.
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

Restaurants Suing Insurance Companies Over Business Interruption Claims

As insurance companies are making claims that “business interruption” insurance was never intended to cover “universal catastrophes” many restaurant companies are filing class-action lawsuits against insurers to earn back coverage.
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

Chick-fil-A creates a community relief fund for $10.8m

As many other leading chains have done the same, Chick-fil-A has created a $10.8 million community relief fund that will be distributed through its network of more than 1,800 franchisees.
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

Darden SSS down 44.7% between Feb 24 and April 19

Parent of Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, and others, announced its Q4 (based on the company fiscal calendar) same-store sales were down nearly 50%. The company’s weekly cash burn rate improved to about $20 million (compared to $40–$50m at the end of March).
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

NRA reports 8m job losses, $240b bailout needed

As the restaurant industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Restaurant Association estimates industry-wide losses to reach $240b for 2020. The NRA is asking Congress for restaurant-specific tax credits for businesses that will inevitably continue to lose revenue when operating with limited capacity to maintain social distancing practices.
April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020

TravelCenters of America furlough 2.9k employees

Owner of travel hubs across the country, TravelCenters of America, has furloughed nearly 3,000 employees across its system. The TravelCenters often have restaurants as anchors, including brands such as Bob Evans, Dunkin’, Starbucks, Carl’s Jr., Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and others.
April 20, 2020
April 21, 2020

Chipotle reaches record digital sales of $372m

Culminating in same-store sales growth of +3.3% for the quarter, Chipotle made a record-breaking $327m in digital sales in Q1, even with the company closing 100 of its locations and shifting to a delivery-only model in the same period.
April 21, 2020
April 21, 2020

Restaurants preparing to reopen in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee

A handful of states are starting to ease business restrictions, with restaurants able to reopen, often with restrictions still in place. Many franchise brands are also working with their parent companies, in addition to federal and local ordinances, when developing plans to reopen.
April 21, 2020
April 21, 2020

Oil Prices Dip Negative

Oil prices fell to as low as -$40/barrel as the global efforts to contain spread of the coronavirus have dramatically reduced energy consumption. This was the first time that futures contracts have gone negative in history.
April 21, 2020
April 22, 2020

Restaurants in France Closed through June

Restaurants and bars in France will be closed through at least June 15 ahead of moving forward with a gradual re-opening.
April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020

OpenTable reveals bookings at 0 in FSR across the world since the end of March

Another data point supporting just how hard the restaurant industry has been hit, Open Table announced that full-service restaurant reservations were at 0 for the past month.
April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020

One of Largest Employers in Middle East Says No Layoffs

The CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, one of the largest private employers in the Middle East which owns and operates hundreds of grocery stores and malls across the region, has announced that the company will not furlough or lay off any employees. Carrefour supermarkets, one of the brands under MAF, has seen online grocery orders in the UAE see +300% surge, +700% in Egypt, and +1,000% in the KSA.
April 22, 2020
April 23, 2020

Domino’s Q2 Sales + 7.1%

Although it’s early in the quarter, Domino’s has announced so far that Q2 sales are up 7.1% for the first four weeks. The existing delivery infrastructure has helped the company maintain performance throughout the epidemic.
April 23, 2020
April 23, 2020

Five-Week Jobless Claims Reach 26.4m in U.S.

With another 4.4m initial jobless claims made for the week, a total of 26.4m Americans are now unemployed — which is equivalent to all of the jobs created since the Great Recession being wiped out.
April 23, 2020
April 23, 2020

$484b relief package approved in the U.S.

After funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out within weeks, the U.S. Congress approved a subsequent bill allocating an additional $484 billion in relief funds, with slightly different regulations to focus allocation on those most in need.
April 23, 2020
April 23, 2020

Germany cuts VAT on restaurants, €10b in additional unemployment benefits

In steps to get Europe’s largest economy back to a semblance of normalcy, Germany unveiled a new €10 billion economic package including unemployment benefits and tax breaks for the hardest-hit industries.
April 23, 2020
April 26, 2020

Large Chains Return PPP Loans Following Push Back

After receiving public pushback for receiving PPP loans — intended to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — large are returning their loan funds to the government, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Companies included sweetgreen ($10m), Potbelly ($10m), Ruth’s Chris ($20m), J. Alexander’s ($15m), Shake Shack ($10m), Fiest Restaurant Group, parent of Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical ($15m), and Nathan’s Famous ($1.2m).
April 26, 2020
April 23, 2020

KSA QSR leader Herfy reports 5.3% YOY drop in sales due to Coronavirus lockdown measures

A leader in the Saudi Arabian fast-food market, Herfy announced YOY sales decreases through Q1. The KSA has implemented significant measures to stem the spread of coronavirus which is impacting restaurants across the country.
April 23, 2020
April 27, 2020

McDonald’s SSS -20%–25%, But Recovering

McDonald’s sales are estimated to be down between 20–25% for the second week of April (on a year-over-year basis). This is slightly improved performance compared to the prior week when sales were down between 25-30%.
April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020

Popeyes Franchisee Increasing Pay $5/hour

A Detroit-area Popeyes Franchisee with 20 locations across the system is increasing pay by $5/hour for frontline employees.
April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020

Seattle and NYC Consider Capping Third-Party Delivery Fees

Seattle, which has been an area hard-hit by the coronavirus, has instituted a cap of 15% on third-party delivery fees, effective through the time restaurants will be able to open for dine-in services. New York City is also considering a similar approach, capping fees at 10%. These cities follow San Francisco, which put a policy in place in mid-April — and Los Angeles and Chicago are also evaluating similar policies.
April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020

Spain Announces Reopening Plans for Restaurants at 30% Capacity

With the country’s death toll slowly coming down, Spain has announced plans to gradually begin reopening its economy. Starting May 4, restaurants will be allowed to open for takeaway. In the third phase of the plan, restaurants can open at 30% capacity (along with movie theatres and cinemas).
April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020

Texas Reopens Dining Rooms to 25% Capacity

As of Friday, May 1, restaurants in Texas will be allowed to open dining spaces to 25% capacity. This is welcome news for the 1.3m employees of the restaurant industry across the state, though there is still confusion as to how to implement best practices with regard to re-opening the economy.
April 27, 2020
April 27, 2020

Dubai Reopening Shopping Malls, Restaurants, at 30% Capacity

Starting Sunday, restaurants, salons, and shopping malls in Dubai will begin to reopen, operating at 30% capacity. Public transit will also reopen.
April 27, 2020
April 28, 2020

Food Processing Plants Close Across U.S., Canada

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreaks at their factories, more than 20 food processing plants have temporarily either closed or reduced capacity. The industry most impacted is pork, with 25% of the production being cut. Some executives of the companies impacted have warned about the impacts of COVID-19 ‘breaking the supply chain.’
April 28, 2020
April 28, 2020

Starbucks Sees First SSS Drop in 11 Years; Plans to Open 90% of Stores by June

Starting as early as May 4, Starbucks plans to begin reopening cafes across with country with a plan to have 90% of the system reopened by June (50% of the company’s stores are currently closed). This announcement comes on the heels of news that Starbucks saw its first negative quarter of sales growth in 11 years in the midst of the coronavirus impact.
April 28, 2020
April 28, 2020

Re-Openings Begin in NYC | Pret-a-Manger Opens for Takeout

Following all U.S. locations being closed starting the middle of March, Pret-a-Manger — the London-based fast-casual bakery — announced it would begin the first phase of its reopening plan, focusing on takeout and delivery. The company also launched an on-demand grocery service.
April 28, 2020
April 29, 2020

U.S. GDP Figures Show Contraction of 4.8% in Q1

In what has been the sharpest recession since the Great Recession, the U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 4.8% in the first quarter. This indicates even further contraction in Q2, as the first two months of the year were a boon to the economy with only March negatively impacting growth.
April 29, 2020
April 29, 2020

Businesses Receiving More than $2m in PPP Loans to be Audited

In an effort to ensure funds that were intended for small and medium businesses have been appropriately distributed, any company that received more than $2m in PPP (paycheck protection program) funds will be audited. More than 100 publicly traded companies received PPP funds, many of which could be held criminally liable if they do not willingly return their funds.
April 29, 2020
April 29, 2020

Applebee’s, IHOP Reopen Dining Rooms in Georgia and Tennessee

With limited capacity in dining rooms, some casual dining brands are beginning to re-open for on-premise sales. Customers being comfortable dining out is another hurdle — beyond federal, state, and local regulations — that restaurants will have to clear on the path to the “new normal.”
April 29, 2020
April 29, 2020

Off premise Helps Brinker to 57% of last year’s sales

Brinker — the parent company of Chili’s, Maggiano’s, and others — was able to reach 57% of last year’s sales through off-premise (delivery, takeout) sales only. The company is working to rehire previously furloughed employees as dining rooms begin to reopen across the country.
April 29, 2020
April 29, 2020

Yum Brands Same-Store Sales Down 7%

Yum!, the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, announced same-store sales were down 7% globally with about 10,000 stores closed down across the system. Taco Bell has been the hardest-hit brand, with Pizza Hut performing the strongest.
April 29, 2020
April 30, 2020

3.8m Additional U.S. Jobless Claims, Total 30m in Six Weeks

Another 3.8m Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the last week of April, bringing the running total to more than 30m unemployed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
April 30, 2020
April 30, 2020

TooJays Files for Bankruptcy

After securing a $6.4m PPP loan from the government, the 28-unit Florida-based TooJay’s deli declared bankruptcy — the first moderately sized restaurant chain to do so. Prior to the impacts of the coronavirus, the company had $33m in secured debt on its balance sheet.
April 30, 2020
May 1, 2020

Restaurants Across Latin America form Membership Club

Fine dining restaurants across nine countries in Latin America have formed the Stellar Collective, a newfangled international dining club in which members pay a monthly fee (starting now, which is geared to help restaurants stay afloat now) for perks — including early reservations and concierge services.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

Australian Restaurants Slated to Start Reopening May 15

Seeing a sharp decline in new cases, the Northern Territory in Australia has announced that restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen on May 15. Other territories across the country are also working on economic reopening plans for the coming weeks.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

Ron Shaich’s Fund and T. Rowe Price Invest $70m in BJ’s

BJ’s Restaurants agreed to sell $70m in common stock to Act III Holdings (led by former Panera CEO Ron Shaich) and T. Rowe Price. This investment is set to “enhance BJ’s liquidity” and strengthen the company’s position in a post-COVID-19 economy.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

Asian-American Jobless Claims in NYC Increase 6900%

One of the hardest-hit demographics following social biases has been Asian-Americans, as unemployment claims from this segment of the population have increased 6900% increase since the same period last year, and moving from 3.7% to 12.5% in New York City alone.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

McDonald’s Tests Post COVID-19 Model in Netherlands

In an effort to make changes operationally that hopefully will not negatively (or noticeably) impact the guest experience but still improve safety standards, McDonald’s has started to implement updates to protocols — including maintaining social distancing — ahead of reopening locations.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

Popeyes Q1 SSS +29%

Restaurant Brands International (the parent company of Burger King, Tim Horton’s, and Popeye’s) announced that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen was very resilient against the impacts of the coronavirus, with Q1 same-store sales up 29.2% year-over-year.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020

Georgia, Tennessee, Alaska Begin Reopening Dine-In

The first states across the U.S. begin re-opening dine-in facilities for restaurants. Georgia, Tennessee, and Alaska were first to modify regulations, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and parts of Iowa.
May 1, 2020
May 4, 2020

Dave & Buster’s Receives $100m to Stay Afloat

Leading ‘eatertainment’ chain Dave & Buster’s received a lifeline investment of $100m from investment firm Jefferies. All of the company’s 137 locations are closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020

Denny’s April SSS Down 76%

Family dining chain Denny’s announced furloughs of 25% of corporate staff and reductions in other controllable expenses as same-store sales for the month of April were down 76% compared to 2019.
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020

Stronger Off-Premise Efforts Help Texas Roadhouse Improve SSS Performance from -61.5% to -46.7%

A pivot to to-go and curbside helped Texas Roadhouse lessen the bleeding in terms of same-store sales performance for April. The company says it’s implementing a “play to win” strategy in the face of coronavirus.
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020

Spain allowing takeaway in restaurants, cafes, and bars

Starting May 4th, restaurants, cafes, and bars will be allowed to sell via takeaway in Spain. Until now, delivery was the only way foodservice establishments were allowed to sell their food. Starting on May 11th outdoor areas for dine-in will also be allowed to open at a 50% capacity.
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020

20% of Wendy’s U.S. Locations Sold Out of Beef Due to Meat Shortages

One of the downsides of its “fresh, never frozen” beef promise, many Wendy’s locations across the country have sold out of their beef patties as its supply chain struggles to keep up with demand for fresh meat.
May 4, 2020
May 5, 2020

Outback Plans to Reopen 336 Locations

As state and local regulations are loosened, Tampa-based Outback restaurants will be opening 336 dining rooms across the country with limited seating capacity and an emphasis on safety and sanitation. Same-store sales are down across the Outback system (and for other brands across its parent company, Bloomin’ Brands).
May 5, 2020
May 5, 2020

Shake Shack Plans Off-Premise Focused Reopening

Drive-thru and takeout will be a priority for Shake Shack — with locations dubbed as a Shack Track — as the company begins to reopen locations and hire back furloughed employees (with a 10% hourly pay raise). Shake Shack executives have cited investments in technology made previously are helping to keep the brand operating through the pandemic.
May 5, 2020
May 5, 2020

Starbucks Reopens 85% of Corporate Stores

With modified operations and hours, 85% of the corporate system for Starbucks will be opened the week of May 4 with the goal to surpass 90% by June. The Starbucks app will also be updated, now including an option for curbside pickup.
May 5, 2020
May 5, 2020

India launches repratiation flights to bring back tourists and expats from the UAE

Using charter flights and naval warships, India will begin to bring hundreds of thousands of citizens home from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the Maldives.
May 5, 2020
May 6, 2020

Wingstop SSS +33% for April Thanks to Delivery

Crediting a successful free delivery promotion, Wingstop same-store sales climbed 33.4% in April. The delivery orders for the company had a check average on average $5 higher than other channels during the promotion’s run.
May 6, 2020
May 6, 2020

Papa John’s Reports April SSS +27%

Relying on the strength of its delivery model, Papa John’s saw +27% same-store sales growth across North America in April — the strongest performance for the month in the company’s history.
May 6, 2020
May 7, 2020

U.S. Jobless Claims 3.2m for First Week of May

With a total now surpassing more than 33 million Americans unemployed, an additional 3.2m people filed first-time jobless claims in the first week of May.
May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

U.S. Restaurants Have Lost 5.9m Jobs in the Pandemic

In a period of just six weeks, three decades-worth of jobs created in the restaurant industry have been lost. This means that almost 1-in-4 of all U.S. jobs lost in the coronavirus pandemic were in restaurants.
May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

Chuck E. Cheese’s Parent Fights Eviction Efforts

After seeking rent forgiveness in the face of the coronavirus, CEC Entertainment — the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese’s — has filed suit to prevent one of its landlords from evicting one of its locations. This is a sign for a potentially rocky road ahead for operators and landlords. on the whole.
May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

U.S. Restaurant Sales, Traffic Down 55% in April

BlackBox Intelligence reported significant declines in both sales and traffic for restaurants in April. The last two weeks of the month showed signs that the ‘bottom’ was hit for the industry as potential recovery indicators became evident.
May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

McDonald’s paying 10% appreciation bonus to corporate employees

For McDonald’s employees working at corporate locations — nearly 700 stores — a bonus equivalent to 10% of their monthly pay was added to paychecks in May as an appreciation from the parent brand.
May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes Parent Considering Bankruptcy

With 97 buffet-focused restaurants, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. — the owner of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes — is considering bankruptcy. The company said it does not see a clear “path” to reopening post-COVID-19.
May 7, 2020
May 8, 2020

Ruth’s Chris Opens Dining Rooms in Select States, Uses QR Codes

Following a same-store sales decrease of 85%+ in April, a dozen Ruth’s Chris dining rooms are opening in select states. The company will use QR Codes and scanners to read menus on personal devices for guests to help reduce personal contact.
May 8, 2020
May 8, 2020

Chipotle extends 10% pay increase through May 24

Chipotle announced it would be extending its appreciation pay bonuses — a 10% pay increase for employees who are able to work during the pandemic — and “take steady, careful steps” toward reopening their restaurants to normal operations.
May 8, 2020
May 11, 2020

The One Group Reopens STK, Kona Grill; Launches E-Commerce Platform

With the help of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, The One Group — owner of STK Steak House and the Kona Grill — is beginning to reopen dining rooms in 11 locations. The company is also launching an e-commerce platform offering cuts of steak available as a component of a meal-kit available for delivery.
May 11, 2020
May 11, 2020

FAT Brands, Epic Kitchens Partner for Ghost Kitchens

FAT Brands — owner of Fatburger, Buffalo’s Express, and Hurricane Grill & Wings — is partnering with Epic Kitchens to launch ghost kitchens in Chicago to support delivery in the market. The company has said that Fatburger along has seen growth of 40% and 62% for delivery and to-go, respectively.
May 11, 2020
May 11, 2020

Buffalo Wild Wings opens fast-casual off-premise focused format in Georgia

Focusing on takeout and delivery orders, Buffalo Wild Wings opened a fast-casual ‘GO’ model at 1,800 square feet with condensed seating where guests can wait for their food. The company’s delivery business has grown 40% since the pandemic hit.
May 11, 2020
May 12, 2020

U.S. Consumer Prices See Biggest Drop Since Great Recession

The Consumer Price Index dropped 0.8% in the month of April — the largest decrease since the 2008/2009 recession.
May 12, 2020
May 12, 2020

Sustainable Holdings Files for Bankruptcy

Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish parent company, Sustainable Holdings, announced the business could not survive the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and look for a buyer.
May 12, 2020
May 12, 2020

Potbelly Considers Closing 100 Stores, SSS Down 45%

At its worst, Potbelly same-store sales were down 68% — though they’ve recovered slightly to be down 45% in the first week of May. In the wake of this performance, the company is considering permanently closing 100 locations across the system.
May 12, 2020
May 12, 2020

California Releases Guidelines for Restaurant Reopenings

Focusing on appropriate physical distancing standards versus blanket occupancy capacities, California Governor Gavin Newsom released guidelines for restaurants reopening across the state. Bars are not yet included in this phase of reopening.
May 12, 2020
May 12, 2020

57 Steak ‘n Shake Units Closing Permanently

Biglari Holdings Inc., the owner of Steak ‘n Shake and Western Sizzlin, announced that 57 of the legacy Steak ‘n Shake locations would close permanently following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
May 12, 2020
May 14, 2020

800k restaurant workers laid off or furlough in Canada

A sharp dose of reality for the Canadian restaurant industry which was expected to surpass $100b in sales this year as an estimated 800,000 foodservice employees across the country are now unemployed or not working.
May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020

82% of Denny’s restaurants back in operations in the U.S.

After finishing Q1 positively (up 6.3%), same-store sales at Denny’s are now starting to reflect the impacts of COVID-19. That said, the company has an estimated 82% of locations open across the country operating at different levels based on local regulations.
May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020

Jack-in-the-Box Expecting Q3 Upswing Following SSS Dip of 4.3%

While transaction count is down at Jack-in-the-Box locations, average check increases are helping to bolster sales performance in the wake of coronavirus. The company remains “cautiously optimistic” for Q3 performance.
May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020

Starbucks asks for rent relief through summer 2021

Starting June 1, Starbucks is requesting abatements from landlords across the system through summer of 2021. Estimated sales losses total $915 million systemwide thus far due to the pandemic.
May 14, 2020
May 15, 2020

U.S. Restaurant Sales Cut in Half Relative to April 2019

April sales for Foodservice and Drinking Places (restaurants and bars, for all intents and purposes) were $32.5b, 49% lower than the same month a year ago.
May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020

Momofuku Restaurant Group Closes 2 Locations Permanently

Led by David Chang, the Momofuku Restaurant Group is permanently closing two of its locations (CCDC in Washington, D.C. and Nishi in NYC) after being hard-hit by the coronavirus impacts.
May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020

NYC Caps Food Delivery Fees to 15% or Less

Following several other large cities, NYC has implemented a cap on delivery fees at no more than 15% of the order total. Grubhub has announced that similar caps implemented in San Francisco have already decreased orders at independent restaurants by 10% or more based on fees being transferred to the consumer.
May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020

IHOP Franchisee Files for Chapter 11, Cites Stay-at-Home Orders as Culprit

A franchisee operating 49 IHOP units based in the Southeast has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. Sales for the IHOP brand are reportedly down about 75% since the coronavirus pandemic hit.
May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020

CDC Issues Restaurants and Bars Guidelines for Re-Opening

In addition to following state and local regulations, the CDC has announced updates for restaurants reopening across the U.S. Among increased hygiene standards, recommendations included that operators must be prepared to protect employees with higher risk for severe illness and have flexible leave policies for employees.
May 15, 2020
May 16, 2020

$10.5b of “Targeted Economic Support Scheme” Loans Allocated in the UAE to Support Companies in COVID Crisis

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has injected AED 50 billion in interest-free loans into the market through banks in the country to support businesses and individuals alike.
May 16, 2020
May 16, 2020

Italy to Reopen international Tourism in June

An economy heavily dependent on tourism, Italy will reopen to international travel beginning June 3. There will be a 14-day quarantine period for all incoming travelers.
May 16, 2020
May 18, 2020

Specialty’s Café & Bakery Closing 50+ Units Due to Pandemic Shutdown

In the wake of the coronavirus, Specialty’s Cafe Bakery has closed all of its 50+ locations after more than 33 years in business. The company has restaurants in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington.
May 18, 2020
May 18, 2020

McDonald’s Sued Over Failure to Provide PPE for Workers

Five McDonald’s employees based in Chicago are suing the parent company, citing they were not provided hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks — the government recommended safety guidelines for COVID-19 protection. The employees also accused McDonald’s of not notifying staff members when an employee became infected with the coronavirus.
May 18, 2020
May 18, 2020

Panera to Implement Contactless Curb-Side Pickup

With new technology that will allow employees to be notified when customers arrive, Panera Bread is launching contactless curbside pickup. This will help the company to reduce bottlenecks at its drive-thrus.
May 18, 2020
May 19, 2020

Darden SSS Down 39.4% for the Quarter; Opening 65% of Dining Rooms with Limited Capacity by End of May

Darden Restaurants (Long Horn, Olive Garden, etc.) has slowed its rate of cash burn to below $10m per week with same-store sales down 39.4% for the company’s fiscal Q4 (ending May 17). Across the system, 65% of dining rooms will open (at varied capacity) by the end of the month.
May 19, 2020
May 19, 2020

Starbucks Opens Cafes in Japan

Starbucks Japan announced the majority of its locations in Japan, including those in Tokyo, would be reopening starting May 19. The company said that some locations will be limited to takeout and drive-thru only.
May 19, 2020
May 19, 2020

White House Working on Extension of PPP Pay-Back Date

At a meeting at the White House, eight restaurant industry executives pushed the U.S. government to consider extending the initial eight-week deadline that was implemented to reply paycheck protection program (PPP) loans as the economic shutdown has extended beyond initial expectations.
May 19, 2020
May 19, 2020

Subway Lays Off 150 Employees

Following a round of layoffs impacting more than 300 at the corporate level, Subway has announced another 150 positions being terminated (including 100 at the corporate level) in further restructuring efforts and “streamlining” plan.
May 19, 2020
May 20, 2020

Congressman Proposes $120b Grant for Independent Restaurants

In efforts to expand on the PP program and support independent operators (who have been arguably hit hardest by the pandemic), Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed a bill creating a $120b grant program tailored to small restaurants. This would equate to an estimated $240k per restaurant (equivalent to about 16% of average annual revenue) and help to offset the sales impact many businesses experienced.
May 20, 2020
May 21, 2020

U.S. Jobless Claims Total 38.6m Over 9 Weeks

Last week, an additional 2.4 million Americans filed first-time jobless claims. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 40 million Americans are out of work.
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020

Texas and Florida Loosen Restaurant Restrictions; Ohio, Kentucky and North Carolina Reopening with Restrictions

The next wave of restaurant reopenings across the U.S. has started, with Texas and Florida migrating from 25% to 50% capacity. Restaurants in Ohio, North Carolina, and Kentucky are all also re-opening with varying restrictions.
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020

Starbucks back at 60%-65% of pre-COVID sales

With some changes to operational changes being implemented with reopening procedures, Starbucks has reached 60–65% of pre-pandemic sales across the system.
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020

Taco Bell to Hire 30k Workers

With a mix of both standard/existing positions and new safety-focused jobs, Taco Bell plans to hire 30,000 employees across its system. The roles will be focused on “enhancing speed and efficiency from various off-premise ordering channels.”
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020

Amazon MENA Hires 1.5k+ Employees (30% increase) to Meet Demand of Coronavirus Crisis

With a surge in the demand for e-commerce orders and deliveries, Amazon MENA has increased its staff by 30% to meet order requirements.
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020

The CDC shares new guidelines for restaurant reopenings

In addition to previous guidance, the CDC released new guidelines for restaurants as they are re-opening. Included in the updates were advice relative to capacity and layout (allowing parties to remain 6 feet apart), as well as overarching recommendations to takeout, drive-thru, and delivery “as applicable” and prioritizing outdoor seating whenever possible.
May 21, 2020
May 22, 2020

UAE Restarts Flights to Dubai to 9 International Destinations

With improved safety restrictions in place, the UAE has started flights to nine international destinations (including Europe, the U.S., Canada, and Australia). All passengers will receive personal hygiene kits on flights.
May 22, 2020
May 22, 2020

COVID-19 Cases Surpass 5 million Globally

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has surpassed 5 million. More than 20% of these cases (1.6m) are in the U.S.
May 22, 2020
May 21, 2020

CDC Shares New Guidelines for Restaurant Openings

Among new guidelines for restaurants as restrictions lift across many states include a COVID contact person on-staff for all shifts, tables spaced six feet apart, and recommendations against self-serve (i.e. buffets and salad bars) options for guests.
May 21, 2020
May 22, 2020

Bars in the Netherlands able to Open Starting June 1

So long as patrons maintain a 1.5m social distance, bars (in addition to restaurants, museums, and movie theatres) will be opening in the Netherlands starting June 1.
May 22, 2020
May 26, 2020

TGI Friday’s Closes 20% of U.S. Locations Permanently

After seeing sharp declines in sales due to the virus and citing cash solvency concerns, TGI Friday’s has announced that an expected 20% of its U.S. system will not re-open post-pandemic.
May 26, 2020
May 27, 2020

Le Pain Quotidien files for bankruptcy

So long as patrons maintain a 1.5m social distance, bars (in addition to restaurants, museums, and movie theatres) will be opening in the Netherlands starting June 1.
May 27, 2020
June 3, 2020

Luby’s Puts Assets up for Sale

Parent company of Luby’s Cafeteria and Fuddruckers, Luby’s Inc., announced it is selling real estate assets and will be limiting operations. While the company has been struggling since before the crisis (it began seeking strategic alternatives in September 2019), the additional market challenges have accelerated matters.
June 3, 2020
June 3, 2020

Dunkin’, Baskin Robbins Sales Improving

Comparable store sales for Baskin Robins were flat and Dunkin’ down only 15% in early May, with performance trending up from previous months.
June 3, 2020
June 4, 2020

PPP Spending Deadline Extended

With changing legislation benefitting restaurants, requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have been revised to extend spending timeframe to 24 weeks and enables organizations to spend a minimum of 40% of received money on other operating costs (rent, operating expenses, etc.) in addition to labor — compared to an earlier requirement of 75% of funds going to labor costs.
June 4, 2020
June 9, 2020

Chili’s, Maggiano’s Reopening 82% of Restaurants

Following the trend of more restaurant dining rooms re-opening, Brinker — parent company to Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy — announced that 82% of its dining rooms are open across the country while maintaining recommended social distancing standards.
June 9, 2020
June 10, 2020

Red Robin Simplifies Menu to Support Off-Premise and Dine-In Execution

The casual dining burger chain Red Robin has reduced its menu by 55 items to streamline operations and support execution for both on-premise and off-premise sales.
June 10, 2020
June 10, 2020

Starbucks Closing 400 U.S. Stores, Shifts to “Grab-n-Go” Model

Pivoting to an “express” store format featuring pick-up windows an and mobile focus, Starbucks announced it would be closing existing 400 locations that do not fit the model (though 300 new units are also expected to open before the end of the year).
June 10, 2020
June 10, 2020

Pizza Hut Reaches Record Delivery and Takeout Sales

Hitting the highest carry out and delivery sales in eight (8) years, Pizza Hut has been outperforming fellow Yum! Brand Taco Bell, which has seen decreased sales — largely attributable to sagging breakfast and late-night sales.
June 10, 2020
June 15, 2020

NRA Estimates $120b Loss for Restaurant Industry

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Restaurant Association has estimated that the industry lost $120b in revenue across the U.S. According to a recent survey, 75% of operators do not expect to turn a profit within the near future.
June 15, 2020
June 15, 2020

Panda Express Hiring 30k Employees for In-House Delivery

In efforts of launching direct delivery (versus partnering with aggregators), Panda Express has announced it will be hiring 30k employees and expects its full menu to be available by July for delivery.
June 15, 2020
June 16, 2020

McDonald’s Announces Same-Store Sales Improvements

As 1,000+ of its dining rooms across the U.S. being to reopen, McDonald’s announces that same-store sales are trending more positively. While sales were down an estimated 12% for the last half of April, May sales performance improved to being down just 5%.
June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020

Denny’s SSS Still Down 40%

Staying on the theme of casual dining brands struggling most, family-dining operator Denny’s announced that — even with some dining rooms opening across the country — same-store sales were still down 40%.
June 16, 2020
June 19, 2020

Illinois Court Sets Precedent for Restaurants Not Paying Rent During Shutdowns

A bankruptcy court in Illinois ruled to excuse a local restaurant from paying 75% of its rent during the coronavirus shutdown. The court cited the Force Majeure or “Act of God” clause in the restaurant’s contract with its landlord. This case is expected to set a precedent for potential future lawsuits of tenants against landlords.
June 19, 2020
June 24, 2020

Some States Allowing To-Go Cocktail Sales

While some restaurants are reopening at limited capacity, delivery is still the largest contributor to sales at most businesses. In an effort to help bolster sales and reduce the impact of the pandemic, many states (up to 30) have changed regulations surrounding the sale of alcohol to-go. Many states are considering making these changes to legislation permanent, an indication of how some of the impacts of the pandemic will last beyond the virus itself.
June 24, 2020
June 24, 2020

Shake Shack Resumes New Openings

Announcing that it plans to get back on its development schedule, Shake Shack has resumed the opening of new locations. The total new unit growth for the company is naturally expected to be less than the initial 40 considered at the start of the year.
June 24, 2020
June 26, 2020

Texas Walks Back Restaurant and Bar Operations After Initial Reopening

After being one of the first states to reopen restaurant and bar operations at a limited capacity, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that bars would be ordered to close temporarily and restaurant capacities should be reduced to 50% to try to stem the spiking coronavirus cases in the state.
June 26, 2020
June 30, 2020

Papa John’s Sees SSS +24% with Strong Off-Premise Performance

Over the five-week period ended June 28, Papa John’s domestic locations in the U.S. saw same-store sales growth of 24%. International performance was also up 6%. This was reportedly the best sales period in the company’s history, with a strong showing for off-premise — as many other pizza players have seen during the pandemic.
June 30, 2020
July 1, 2020

Bars Close (Again) Across the Country, NY Tightens Reopening Rules

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S., Texas bars and restaurants sued Governor Greg Abbott after they were forced to close following a surge in cases. Other states including Florida, California, and Wisconsin also imposed tighter restrictions on bars/restaurants relative to indoor capacity. New York, which had seen a reduction in case count, also reduced indoor dining capacities in the city and across the state.
July 1, 2020
July 1, 2020

Congress Extends PPP Through August 8

While the Small Business Administration stopped receiving/reviewing applications following the deadline of July 30, Congress has overwhelmingly approved an extension to the Paycheck Protection Program to continue through August 8 (in addition to previously passing the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act which allows businesses to pay for non-payroll-related expenses with the funds as well as extend the timeline for rehiring employees.
July 1, 2020
July 10, 2020

Arizona Reduces Restaurant Capacity to 50%

With a continued spike in COVID-19 cases, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that restaurants would be restricted to 50% capacity in dining rooms.
July 10, 2020
July 13, 2020

California Reverts to Previous Restrictions on Indoor Dining, Bars

After seeing a surge in cases, California announced that the state would be shutting down all indoor dining at restaurants and wineries to all 58 counties. The largest state in the U.S. had been reporting 8,000 cases per day leading up to the announcement.
July 13, 2020
July 20, 2020

Chicago Reintroduces Indoor Dining Restrictions

Bars, restaurants, and gyms across Chicago are now subject to tighter operating procedures following increases in cases in the city, particularly among younger residents. Restaurant party sizes were also capped at 5 people to encourage large indoor gatherings and parties.
July 20, 2020
July 27, 2020

Papa John’s Announces Hiring Plan for 10k Employees

Following a hiring spree of 20,000 employees in March, at the start of the pandemic impacts, Papa John’s announced another 10,000 planned hires — including drivers, pizzamakers, and customer service representatives.
July 27, 2020
July 28, 2020

McDonald’s Profit Drops 68%, Sales Decline of 8.7%

For Q2 2020, McDonald’s reported a 68% decrease in net income — this was the first financial quarter showing the full impact of COVID-19. While nearly all MCDs locations are open around the world, drops in customer counts (especially at breakfast) were listed as a cause for the performance.
July 28, 2020
July 28, 2020

Starbucks Global SSS Decreased 40% from April–June

Starbucks announced that same-store sales globally were down 40% in the company’s fiscal Q3 (April–June). Traffic decreases of 51% were largely the contributing factor to the sales performance, slightly bolstered by an increased average check (+23% ticket growth).
July 28, 2020
July 28, 2020

McDonald’s Announces Fast-Tracking of Closing 200 Underperforming Stores

McDonald’s announced that it would be closing more than 200 stores (100+ of which were operating in Walmart locations across the U.S.). The closures had been planned for future years but are being accelerated due to the impacts of COVID.
July 28, 2020
July 29, 2020

Wingstop Sales +31.9% in Q2

With a strategy heavily relying on digital delivery and carry-out which has proven to be resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wingstop domestic same-store sales improved nearly 32% for Q2. While international performance is struggling (as the model is more reliant on sports bar-style formats), the company still opened 23 new restaurants across the system with a heavy push on ghost kitchens.
July 29, 2020
July 30, 2020

Dunkin’ Closing Up to 1,150 Locations Globally

In an effort to reassess its real estate portfolio and eliminate locations that aren’t in alignment with long-term strategies, Dunkin’ announced it could close as many as 800 locations in the U.S. in 2020 in addition to 350 international stores. Of the 800 domestic locations, 450 are operating inside Speedway locations that were previously announced to be upcoming closures.
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020

California Pizza Kitchen Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Citing financial troubles attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, the 250+-unit California Pizza Kitchen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restructuring agreement is reportedly meant to equitize the company’s long-term debt with the goal to “quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger company.”
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020

Pret a Manger Closing All Locations in Chicago, Boston, and the UK

With sales down 87%, Pret a Manger — a predominantly “grab-and-go” concept — announced it would take “immediate steps” to stabilize performance and would be closing 17 location sin Boston and Chicago along with 30 stores in the UK.
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020

Yum! Brands Digital Sales Hit Record $3.5 Billion in Q2

Digital sales for Yum! Brands (parent to Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger) hit an all-time high of $3.5 billion in Q2 (up from just over $1b in the same period of 2019). Both KFC and Pizza Hut posted positive same-store sales numbers in the U.S. in the period.
July 30, 2020

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS ON THE CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY



About Aaron Allen & Associates:

Aaron Allen & Associates works with leaders of global foodservice and hospitality companies on strategic issues. Specializations of the firm include multinational expansion, system-wide sales building, brand and portfolio strategy, modernized marketing, industry trends, technology, and advanced analytics.  If you’re a foodservice operator or investor seeking to drive growth, optimize performance, maximize value, or create a modernized portfolio in the face of increasing competitive dynamics and an accelerated pace of change, we can help.

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