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Survey finds 33% of Wisconsin restaurants could close within 6 months if COVID-19 measures continue
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RESTAURANT NEWS

Survey finds 33% of Wisconsin restaurants could close within 6 months if COVID-19 measures continue

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Hawk's Bar & Grill

A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association found that in Wisconsin, 68% of restaurant owners don’t expect their restaurant’s sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months. 

A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association showed that 33% of Wisconsin restaurants are unlikely to be in business six months from now if pandemic restrictions continue.

The association surveyed 3,500 restaurant operators from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, and called the results "stark for Wisconsin and nationally."

Prospects for Wisconsin restaurants looked slightly better than the nationwide number — 37% — of restaurants that reported they were unlikely to still be operating in six months if no additional relief is available from the federal government.

In April, research by the respected James Beard Foundation suggested that four out of five, or 80 percent, of independent restaurants may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other state numbers in the recent National Restaurant Association survey showed that 68% of restaurant owners don’t expect their restaurant’s sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months. Overall sales for Wisconsin restaurants were down 36% on average.

While sales were significantly lower for most restaurants, 53% of Wisconsin restaurant owners and operators said operational costs, as a percent of sales, are higher than they were before the COVID-19.

Wisconsin restaurants are at 71% of staffing compared to normal levels, the survey found. It also showed that 44% of restaurant owners in the state don't expect their staffing levels to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.

Following the initial rehiring surge in May and June, restaurant staffing trends were mixed, the report said. Forty percent of restaurant operators said they added employees in July and August, while 15 percent say they laid off or furloughed staff in July and August.

Twenty-nine percent of Wisconsin restaurant operators said they planned to add employees in the next 30 days, while 26 percent said they anticipated laying off or furloughing employees within the next 30 days.

Other state results showed that consumer spending in restaurants remained well below normal levels in August. Eighty-five percent of Wisconsin restaurant operators said their total sales volume in August was lower than it was in August 2019.

With restrictions limiting indoor dining, 74% of operators said carryout sales now represent a higher proportion of their total business than it did before COVID-19.

In Wisconsin, 28% of operators said business conditions in August were worse than they were in July, while 10% said business conditions improved in August.

Also, 68% of Wisconsin operators said they don’t expect sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.

In 2018, Wisconsin’s 12,796 restaurants employed more than 212,000 and had $3.43 billion in sales, according to the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center.

10 Madison restaurants with enhanced outdoor seating thanks to city's Streatery program

Outdoor seating has been a lifeline this summer for some restaurants lucky enough to have it, but it comes with challenges, and worse, an approaching end date with colder weather on the way.

About 87 restaurant and bar owners are taking advantage of the city's "Streatery" program, modeled after efforts around the world to help restaurants during COVID-19 restrictions by helping them increase their outdoor dining areas by extending into streets, parking spaces, parking lots and alleys. Twenty-six other applications are pending in Madison.

The efforts are in response to public heath data that suggests that al fresco dining is a safer option than eating indoors in restaurants. Or as Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich put it, "a restaurant patio is a calculated risk."

Here are 10 Madison restaurants and bars taking part in Streatery.

Ohio Tavern

Ohio Tavern

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The Ohio Tavern has seating for 22 outside the bar at 224 Ohio Ave. Under the city's Streatery program, it was able to extend its outdoor seat…

Brasserie V

Brasserie V

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Brasserie V, 1923 Monroe St., has had its outdoor seating since late July with four tables on the sidewalk in front, and six tables in back. T…

Alchemy Cafe, Ideal Bar and Green Owl

Alchemy Cafe, Ideal Bar and Green Owl

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On the 1900 block of Atwood Avenue a Streatery cafe zone uses beer barrels and lattice to create patio seating extending into parking spots wi…

Ogden's North Street Diner

Ogden's North Street Diner

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Ogden's North Street Diner, 560 North St., has six tables seating as many as 16 people behind the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch…

Canteen

Canteen

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Canteen, 111 S. Hamilton St., has 23 tables which can seat 54 people. Customers order at a pick-up window on the Carroll Street side. Canteen …

Nitty Gritty

Nitty Gritty

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"Madison's Official Birthday Place," the Nitty Gritty, 223 N. Frances St., has added six tables on the Frances Street side of the building tha…

Original Pancake House

Original Pancake House

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Original Pancake House, 5518 University Ave., is using six of its parking spaces for outdoor seating. Its 13 outdoor tables are now covered wi…

Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery

Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery

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The owners of Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery, 2827 Atwood Ave., spent $17,000 repaving their parking lot, and $3,000 on outdoor furniture, and can…

Bierock

Bierock

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Bierock, 2911 N. Sherman Ave., has been using sidewalk space in the Northside TownCenter for outdoor dining under the Streatery program. The p…

107 State
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107 State

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107 State is on the top block of State Street in what was formerly Capital Tap Haus, Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus, and briefly Freiburg Tap Haus…

Read more restaurant news at: go.madison.com/restaurants

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