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Hospitality Marketing

The Must-Know Restaurant Industry Statistics for June 2020

Coming as a surprise to exactly no one, the restaurant industry is in a tough position. Hospitality (including restaurants, bars, hotels, and tourism) has been hit harder by the crisis than any other industry. And with new cases of the virus back on the rise, the trouble may have only just begun.

With things changing so rapidly, I’ve put together a list of restaurant industry statistics to create a snapshot of the current situation.

If you want to skip the numbers and just get to some takeaways, hop down to the bottom of the post for some key insights.

COVID-19 Restaurant Industry Statistics

Source list for restaurant industry statistics

Restaurant Industry Statistics

  • From February 24th to June 24th, on-premise restaurant diners have decreased by nearly 64%

  • The restaurant industry lost over $30 billion in March and $50 billion in April. Overall losses could reach $240 billion by the end of 2020.

  • The main cash flow challenges for restaurant owners are rent (39%), payroll (34%), and taxes (9%).

  • The Paycheck Protection Program wasn’t enough — 44% of the initial $349 billion PPP loans went to just 2% of small businesses.

Restaurant Labor Statistics

  • The national unemployment rate in May 2020 was 13.3%. The food and beverage sector unemployment rate in the same month was 32.3%.

  • 2/3 of restaurant employees have lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently.

  • Restaurants have laid off an average of 91% of their hourly staff and 70% of salaried employees.

  • Most states provide up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. They can also provide an additional 13 weeks of assistance through the CARES Act.

Off-Premise Dining Statistics

  • 92% of current restaurant traffic is takeout or delivery.

  • A third of consumers are ordering more takeout than they were before COVID-19.

  • With the increase in to-go food, 36% of consumers want restaurants to create less waste in their packaging.

  • 50% of Gen Z consumers (born between 1995 and 2015) say they’d be willing to try a new restaurant if they could order for curbside pickup.

  • of restaurants aren’t sure if they can sustain operations through takeout or delivery.

  • 50% of consumers expect to continue ordering delivery/takeout instead of dining in, even after restrictions are lifted. 

Restaurant Reopening Statistics

  • Main customer concerns for re-opening: 

    • 38% — touching “high traffic” objects like countertops and napkin dispensers

    • 28% — being close to other people

    • 15% — staff handling food

    • 9% — being served from large containers

    • 7% — interacting with restaurant staff

  • 55% of people expect to see more hand sanitizer dispensers in restaurants. 56% want to see staff cleaning heavily trafficked areas frequently.

  • What restaurant owners see as the primary challenges to reopening

    • 41% — slow return of customers

    • 35% — cash on hand to pay vendors

    • 16% — rehiring staff

    • 3% — retraining staff

    • 2% — health inspections

highest challenge of reopening restaurants - slow return of customers


  • 76% of people report that they’d be okay with reduced menus after reopening.

  • Only 20% of people surveyed say they do not plan to return to normal activities until there is a vaccine.

Key Insights

We all know the numbers aren’t looking great. And there’s nothing we can do about the fact that on-premise dining is way down, and is going to stay down for a while longer. 

Some restaurants have begun to bring staff back to their restaurants, with occupancy reduced to 25% or 50%. But with coronavirus cases on the rise in many states — particularly in the south — this may be short-lived. 

The better option at the moment may be to focus your efforts on to-go operations. If restaurants keep most staff furloughed, they’ll continue to receive unemployment benefits for several more months. Bring back a skeleton crew to fulfil to-go and curbside pickup orders, which are still on the rise. 

And don’t let the third-party delivery services take a huge chunk of your already reduced income. GrubHub and DoorDash are more expensive for you and more expensive for the consumer. 

People are very aware of the difficulties of that our industry is facing. So ask customers to order directly from the restaurant, either over the phone or online.

You can also offer a small discount as an incentive. Even a 10% discount to the customer will be less painful to your bottom line than the 30% charged by some third parties. And it may encourage people to skip the expensive middleman. Promote your discount both on social media and in to-go bags for current customers.

Remember that this uptick in to-go ordering may not disappear once the crisis is over. It could signal a shift in the way many people choose to interact with restaurants long term. So a robust and convenient to-go program may be valuable both now and in the future.

Stay strong and stay healthy, my restaurant family.

Header image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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