The financial security of Rhode Island’s restaurant and catering industry is at risk of being wiped out by Delta Variant

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 Congress leaders sharing New results from the National Consumer Confidence Survey and urging to quickly replenish 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 proposed $60 billion replenishment bills. The letter urges Congress to complete the mission of the RRF and provide sufficient funds to replenish the program and provide relief for applications still pending.

“There are thousands of small business owners in Rhode Island waiting to hear if they will get the financial stability needed to get through this new pandemic threat and into the future,” said the president and CEO of RI Hospitality. Association, Dale J. Venturini. “The rise of coronavirus variants like delta threatens to push these restaurants into permanent closure. Our industry desperately needs RRF funding.

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

Specifically, the investigation revealed:

6 out of 10 adults have changed their use of the restaurant due to the increase in the delta variant

  • 19% of adults have stopped going out to restaurants
  • 9% have canceled existing plans to go out to restaurants in recent weeks
  • 37% ordered takeout or delivery instead of dining out
  • 19% chose to sit outside rather than inside when dining out

“For an industry that needs a full house every night 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 a decline in consumer confidence that will make it harder for most restaurateurs to maintain their fragile financial stability.”

Read the full letter here.

About the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA):

With more than 800 restaurant 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 about RIHA, please call (401) 223-1120, or write to: RI Hospitality Association, 94 Sabra Street, Cranston, RI, 02910, or visit www.rihospitality.org.

What’sUpNewp is your independent source for what’s happening in Newport, RI; Rhode Island; Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Nantucket, MA, Stowe, VT; and beyond. Send topical tips, story ideas, corrections and questions to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com

Sarah J. Greer