These layoffs are only be the beginning of the novel coronavirus’ tremendous blow to the restaurant industry, which has hit small and independent operators especially hard. Without federal assistance, the National Restaurant Association anticipates $225 billion in losses over three months and the loss of 5 million to 7 million jobs.
Cities and states have mandated that restaurants and bars close entirely or shut down dine-in operations and only offer takeout, drive-thru or delivery. But not all restaurants are equipped to switch to off-premise. Prior to this crisis, to-go sales only represented 14% of casual dining sales, according to Black Box Intelligence data shared with Restaurant Dive.