Coronavirus pandemic leads to grim restaurant industry forecast for California

Posted at 12:29 AM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 09:51:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The California Restaurant Association has a grim forecast for the restaurant industry as communities across the state begin to see more and more restaurant closures.

When the coronavirus pandemic started, the CRA projected that 20 to 30 percent of restaurants could close their doors for good because of the pandemic. That projection is looking to be on the higher end now, according to Jot Condie, the CRA's president and CEO.

"With this second shutdown, it's likely to be closer to 30 percent," Condie said. "A lot of restaurants that we're learning are closed, are doing it quietly. There are no signs posted, no banners saying we're closed for good."

He said while many variables are at play, even when restaurants can reopen completely, many restaurant owners will not be out of the woods yet.

"After the opening, you'll see a sort of shaking out of the industry in those first 18 months," Condie said.

Condie said the restaurants most at risk are fine dining and independently owned.

He also said the impact will likely vary in various parts of the state. Condie believes that San Diego County and Southern California's restaurant industry may fare better than the rest of the state because of better weather throughout the year. The weather will be a significant factor for restaurants that can offer outdoor dining and expanded outdoor dining.

"Where the weather cooperates almost all year, you're likely not to see the challenges of survival that you will see in, for example, San Francisco or the Bay Area," he said.