Restaurants Report Revenue Hikes After $900 Billion Stimulus

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Restaurant chains say the recent personal stimulus checks have helped them out, a Wall Street Journal report says, though spending patterns from last time around suggest that might not last.

According to the report, the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed last December, which included $600 payments for adults and children as well as $300 weekly unemployment boosts, while less than the CARES Act allowed last March, has still had an effect on consumer behavior.

Some companies, including Church’s Chicken, Checker’s, Noodles & Co. and TGI Fridays, along with some McDonald’s owners and fine-dining chain Fogo de Chao, have reported higher sales which they credit to the stimulus financial aid.

Tampa, Florida-based Chris Elliott, who owns restaurant chains including Beef O’ Brady’s and the Brass Tap, said people “relax a little, and they want some normalcy in their lives,” per the Journal. He said the stimulus coincided with a 6.5 percent boost in sales compared to last year and that it also came at the same time as several football games.

But as restaurants continue to struggle, amid changing rules from local governments and the continuing threat of COVID-19, the boost might not last, WSJ notes. Restaurant sales dropped 19.5 percent last year, and with the chaos of the pandemic, tens of thousands of restaurants have already closed, with more to follow as the winter continues.

After the first stimulus checks were sent out in April of 2020, the boost to the economy faded rather quickly, the news outlet noted.

As COVID-19 began surging again in the holiday season of 2020, PYMNTS reports that some restaurants have flouted restrictions to try and make money as they were about to fail.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had to fine establishments for violating indoor dining bans. Indoor dining has been riskier during the pandemic because of the enclosed environment and potential for poor ventilation, both of which can spur the virus.

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