Louisiana restaurant industry financial security in danger of being wiped out by delta variant

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Shawn Shepherd, who owns the Wahoo Seafood Grill in Gainesville, said he was initially skeptical upon hearing of the customer’s generosity. (Getty Images)

METAIRIE, La.— Today, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association, and 50 other state restaurant association partners sent a letter to Congressional leadership sharing new national consumer confidence survey findings and urging swift replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).

COVID-19 in Louisiana has continued to surge and the restaurant industry is urging Congress to provide adequate funding.

Louisiana has more than 2,900 pending applications that total more than $600 million in stabilization funding that would be addressed by the $60 billion proposed replenishment bills.

“There are thousands of Louisiana small business owners stuck in limbo waiting to find out if Congress will act to provide the stability they need to make it through this new pandemic threat and into the future,” said Stan Harris, LRA President and CEO. “The rise of coronavirus variants like delta threaten to push these restaurants closer to permanently closing their doors. It’s time for Congress to step in and fulfill the promise of the RRF.”

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

Read the full letter here.

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