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Survey Finds Nearly 17 Percent of Restaurants Have Shuttered Because of the Pandemic

Plus, Taco Bell is releasing a wine in Canada, and more news to start your day

Restaurant sign with the words: “Temporarily closed until COVID 19 crisis is over.” Photo: Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

Nearly 1 in 6 restaurants have closed during pandemic, according to an industry survey

Six months into the U.S. coronavirus crisis, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants, or approximately 100,000 restaurants, has closed on a permanent or long-term basis, according to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association.

The survey asked restaurant operators about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses this past half year. Other findings from the report indicate that consumer spending in restaurants is still down; the food service industry will likely lose $240 billion this year; and 40 percent of respondents said it’s unlikely they’ll still be in business another six months from now without additional stimulus package relief from the government.

While the NRA’s release doesn’t state explicitly how many respondents were included in the survey — the organization reportedly has more than 40,000 members, and previous surveys during the pandemic have received responses from a range of 3,800 to 6,500 restaurant operators — the findings nevertheless paint a grim picture of the current reality and future for restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic and the government’s inability to provide further financial aid on a consistent basis.

And in other news…

  • Taco Bell has created its own wine, “Jalapeño Noir,” to pair with a new chalupa menu item. Unfortunately for stateside Taco Bell/wine lovers, this vino is only available in Canada for a limited time. [CNN]
  • Pepsi is launching an “enhanced water beverage” with L-theanine and magnesium, meant to help consumers fall asleep (presumably after they have been kept awake from stress and too much caffeine all day). [CNBC]
  • Remember last year’s big hubbub over the San Antonio city council blocking Chick-fil-A from opening a location in the airport due to the chain owner’s association with anti-LGBTQ causes, only for Republicans to call this blocking “discrimination,” resulting in the Texas governor’s signing of a “Save Chick-fil-A” bill? Well, a year later, Chick-fil-A no longer plans to open a spot in the airport, even after the city came to an agreement to allow the pursuit of a lease. [USA Today]
  • A ProPublica investigation uncovered emails written by the meat industry’s trade group containing drafts that look strikingly similar to the president’s executive order that kept meatpacking plants open during the height of the pandemic, suggesting that the meat industry may have had a hand in the controversial order to keep factories going even as workers began to fall sick. [ProPublica]
  • Lawmakers in several states in Mexico are pushing to ban junk food sales to minors, prompted in part by the coronavirus deaths of people with underlying medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes. [NPR]
  • Beyond Meat’s meatless meatballs are coming to grocery stores, starting this week. [CNBC]

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