Returning to the Kitchen

It seems that the restaurant industry is finally pushing toward recovery. After a pandemic-laced year of devastating sales and lost revenue, vaccines and federal aid are helping to steer the industry toward a better trajectory. Even so, the industry is seeing some fundamental changes that are both opening doors and becoming a hindrance to success.

First, the good news. Thanks to the domino effect of the pandemic, the restaurant industry is seeing more businesses returning, but online. These new ventures are coming from well-funded, financially backed groups that intend to open multiple locations at one time and work at scale. Transcending the traditional chain establishments, these new ventures will come with a more solid foundation from which to operate, including structured hiring and solid management practices.

That’s welcome news as the industry recovers from a massive drop in revenue for much of 2020. Still, amid the economic coma many restaurants found themselves in, innovation emerged. Those innovations turned out to be ones that both establishments and their customers embraced, such as outdoor dining, pickup and delivery service – even from high-end restaurants.

On top of innovation, some restaurants stayed afloat thanks to a welcome reprieve by the federal government. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) offers small businesses direct monetary incentive to keep workers on the payroll through loans. Some borrowers could be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness

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