Louisiana restaurant industry still in recovery mode

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While the restaurant industry isn’t completely back to pre-pandemic levels President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association Stan Harris said things have improved since the height of COVID. Harris said there’s still more recovery to be made and some sectors fared better than others.

“The fast-casual and the quick service industry and those who that could really pivot a delivery model or a drive-thru model. It’s our full-service operators that are still trying to recover,” said Harris.

And even though some restaurants have closed since the pandemic, Harris said there are new ventures that opened their doors.

Workforce woes continue to plague restaurants and Harris said many full-service dining establishments are now faced with paying the piper.

“Many of them had to go into debt to keep their business operating during COVID and those debts now are coming due,” said Harris.

Harris said eateries, like every other industry, have had to endure record inflation, supply-chain issues, and shortages that haven’t been experienced since WWII.

There are very few places in the country where restaurants play such an important role in the state’s identity. Harris said the association has even coined the phrase “we live to eat.”

“When people come to Louisiana they’re thinking first about, not just what they’re going to do, or what they’re going to see, but they’re thinking about what they’re going to eat. It’s one of the few places that while you’re having lunch you’re thinking about where you’re having dinner,” said Harris.

Harris said a week ago Sunday was Mother’s Day, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year for dine-in restaurants.

 

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