Survey sheds light on struggles for New York’s restaurant industry

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Twenty months after the start of the pandemic and many local restaurants are still struggling. A new survey from the New York State Restaurants Association shows that most restaurants are seeing fewer customers in recent months.

“People don’t understand how bad things are,” said Chris McCann, owner of Mooney’s on Military in the town of Tonawanda.

On Monday, his restaurant had to close. McCann said he didn’t have enough staff. McCann says finding people to work is almost impossible.

“I had 15 interviews one day, one showed up. And then, whoever I hired, he didn’t show up for his first shift, ”McCann said.

The New York State Restaurant Association released poll results that show a similar story statewide.

Out of 206 restaurants surveyed:

62% have seen businesses slow down in the past three months.
71% said sales were down from pre-pandemic levels.
78% said they did not have enough staff to meet the demand.
92% said their costs had increased since before the pandemic.

McCann sees exactly that in his Tonawanda sports bar and grill.

“It’s not about making a profit, it’s about surviving for us,” McCann added.

Among the restaurants surveyed, 67% do not think their situation will improve in the next year.

“It will only get worse before it gets better,” McCann said.

McCann says his prices will eventually rise.

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