The following was submitted and provided by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association

The RI Hospitality Association (RIHA), the National Restaurant Association, and 50 other state restaurant association partners sent a letter to Congressional leadership sharing new national consumer confidence survey findings and urging swift replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Rhode Island has more than 1,523 pending applications that total more than $208,933,000 in stabilization funding that would be addressed by the $60 billion proposed replenishment bills. The letter urges Congress to complete the mission of the RRF and provide adequate funds to replenish the program and offer relief for the applications still pending.

“There are thousands of Rhode Island small business owners waiting to find out if they will get the financial stability needed to make it through this new pandemic threat and into the future,” said RI Hospitality Association President/CEO Dale J. Venturini. “The rise of coronavirus variants like delta threaten to push these restaurants closer to permanently closing their doors. Our industry desperately needs RRF funding.”

The National Restaurant Association survey found that nationally a majority of consumers have already changed their dining behavior, which is beginning to put acute pressure back on the restaurant industry. This faltering consumer confidence comes on top of restaurant labor costs at a 10-year high, increased food and supply prices, continued indoor capacity limits in 11 states, and crushing long-term debt loads for countless restaurant owners.

Specifically, the survey found:

·       6 in 10 adults changed their restaurant use due to the rise in the delta variant

  • 19% of adults have stopped going out to restaurants
  • 9% have cancelled existing plans to go out to a restaurant in recent weeks
  • 37% have ordered takeout or delivery instead of going out to a restaurant
  • 19% have chosen to sit outside instead of inside when going out to a restaurant

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

Read the full letter here.

About the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA):

With more than 800 foodservice and hospitality members in Rhode Island, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) has been the voice of the hospitality industry in the state since 1982.  For more information on the RIHA, please call (401) 223-1120, or write to: RI Hospitality Association, 94 Sabra Street, Cranston, RI, 02910, or visit www.rihospitality.org

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