Morning Brew

Imagine a World Without Restaurants...

Imagine a World Without Restaurants...

COVID-19 makes it easy to do just that. Sure, we’d be a lot more capable with a paring knife or a turkey baster. But at what cost?Restaurants are the backbone of small business in communities across the country. Without decent spots to grab a bite or celebrate an accomplishment, what good are barber shops or clothing retailers? If restaurants flounder, so too do the small businesses they help bolster.That’s the world according to Marcus Samuelsson, famed restaurateur, Iron Chef competitor, Chopped judge, and owner of more than a handful of restaurants around the world. This week on Business Casual, we spoke with Chef Marcus about his experience operating restaurants and strategizing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The long story short? It’s been really, really hard.Restaurants have been suckerpunched by the coronavirus and the requisite shutdowns robbing them of business. And that means big changes for a lot of people:According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry employs 15.6 million people in the U.S. and was on track to do $899 billion in sales for 2020.The sad reality is that an enormous chunk of those 15.6 million people are now being furloughed or laid off. In NYC, restaurant spending dipped 90% in late March compared to a year earlier.But businesspeople like Chef Marcus don’t just stop when things get tough. They pivot—to delivery, to making meals for frontline workers, to lobbying on behalf of the industry at large. Because as far as Chef Marcus sees it, the government is going to step in and give his business the help it needs.In this episode, we explore exactly how COVID has expedited those strategic shifts, plus what they mean for the broader hospitality industry. Listen now.And tune in to Business Casual’s next episode to hear Part II of our exploration of the restaurant space in the COVID-19 world. We’re tackling fast casuals with two of the brightest minds in the industry. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

Duration: 22 min

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