New York City restaurants are having a hard time making ends meet, according to a survey of about 500 restaurateurs sponsored by the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
“Rent is putting enormous financial pressure on restaurants, bars and clubs after four near-fatal months of economic disaster in which many have already shuttered for good,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, according to the New York Post.
The survey of 509 restaurant owners found that 80 percent did not pay their June rent in full and 36 percent did not pay at all.
Among those who paid something, 90 percent paid half or less.
The survey was released as New York City was supposed to be celebrating the return of indoor dining at restaurants. However, that landmark event, originally scheduled for Monday, was postponed indefinitely by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors. Indoors is the problem more and more. The science is showing it more and more,” de Blasio said last week, according to WCBS-TV. “So I want to make very clear: We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City.”
Rigie said that dancing on a string of uncertainty and contradictory government edicts does not help restaurants, either.
“The only thing worse than delaying restaurants opening indoors is to have them reopen and then shut down shortly thereafter because of a spike of COVID cases,” he said.
“While there’s an urgency to start opening and generating revenue, there’s a great fear that it can result in a spike of coronavirus and that would further devastate the industry and make it more unlikely that these businesses will ever recover,” he said.
“Everything is uncertain right now, we don’t know if there’s going to be another wave,” Rigie said. “Running your business in a total state of insecurity, where you don’t know what’s going to happen, is not a way to run your business.”
Dan Kluger, who owns Loring Place in Greenwich Village, told Bloomberg the turnaround in direction hurt businesses trying to reopen.
“I have no problem with the government saying we can’t reopen, but they can’t change the message the week before. I’m taking on more payroll than I need to. I can’t survive until October. I understand the reasons why, but no one is communicating properly. I’ll be lucky if I make $1,000 off of outdoor dining this week. That’s how discouraging it is,” he said.
Rigie said the lockdowns ordered in an attempt to deal with the coronavirus made a bad situation worse.
“Pre-pandemic, it was incredibly difficult to run a successful restaurant,” he said.
“These conditions, the longer that it goes on, is going to make it more and more challenging for small businesses to ever recover. The vast majority of small businesses will not be able to pay back months of missed rent,” Rigie said.
But pay it back they will have to, according to the survey, which found 60 percent of restaurant owners could not get deferments on their rent, and only 10 percent were able to renegotiate leases.
Restaurant owners are “hanging on by a thread and they’re exhausting their personal savings in the hope of one day getting their business up and running again,” Rigie said.
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