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Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact July 7

Posted by Dave

Happy 4th of July!

Since my last post, we have had Father's Day and the 4th of July, and a whole lot of mis-direction by Governors. Sales and traffic continue to improve week to week, but there is now regular volatility in the numbers. I believe this is an indication we have gotten back the low hanging fruit, and getting higher levels of sales may take a lot longer.

Father's Day had been the best sales day since the pandemic started. Mirus Index shows sales down less than -18% from the same day last year; by far the best to date.

Then came the 4th, just as some states returned to lock down. The holiday fell on Saturday, so for many folks, Thursday evening was the start of a long holiday weekend. And, people spent money at restaurants on Thursday and Friday. The previous best day (Father's Day) was demolished on July 2 when sales were down only -13.4% from last year, and that was followed on July 3 with another great day, down only -17.1%. The holiday itself was not a great restaurant day, but at least we had two good days back to back for the first time since forever.

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 8.10.16 AM

Governors not helping

Several states reversed course with their re-opening plans by the end of June. Bars were re-closed, occupancies were reduced for restaurants. In Houston, where Mirus' office resides, the spike in hospital bed utilization from the start to the end of June makes this city more dangerous today than at any time in April. Okay, so we learned a lesson the hard way. Too fast, too much.

Does this look like a V-shaped recovery? The left side of the V looks correct, but the right side - not so much. Everything from professional sports to school in the fall are up in the air. 

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 7.52.20 AM

Customers, and some operators, still have a lot to learn. We will all be safer when everyone wears masks and keeps a safe distance. This isn't very difficult, but we all see the video evidence of people behaving as if Covid-19 did not exist. We (as a country) messed up the first time, let's get it right this time.

When this diary started, I thought perhaps the July entry would be the last, but now it looks like this stream will continue perhaps through the end of the year. There is no short path here, just a long, uncertain path.

Please stay safe, and protect others.

Stay tuned in for updates!

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Read the previous diary entry from Ju here. 

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

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