'Bar Rescue's' Jon Taffer warns of 'bleak' future for restaurants
OpenTable data shows restaurant reservations plunging in 2022
Entrepreneur and "Bar Rescue" host Jon Taffer warned that the restaurant industry is headed towards a "bleak" future on "Varney & Co." Thursday.
"We're getting nailed on all three sides," Taffer told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. "I don't know how any business survives when you get nailed on the revenue side, the labor side and the product cost side."
Taffer’s comments come as the latest data from reservation platform OpenTable shows restaurant bookings nationwide were at pre-pandemic levels for most of November, but have since plummeted 34% below those levels as of Wednesday.
"We were seeing people really coming back, a resurgence to get out there and socialize with each other," Taffer explained, "and then this last variant cut our legs off again."
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A solution to revenue, labor and product cost pressures, Taffer proposed, could be considered a two-step process.
"Get rid of the mandates and assemble a relief package that makes sense," Taffer said.
"We've done everything everybody's asked of us," he continued. "We sanitized our environments. We bought the chemicals to deal with viral contamination. We trained employees. We put in all the packaging for to-go items. We put in scrubbers for our air systems. We did everything possible. Now there's an opportunity for the government to put together the right type of relief package."
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Without labor and revenue assistance, Taffer says restaurants will find other ways to get the job done, such as using robots.
"There must be 20 companies that are providing all different types of service robots," he pointed out. "There's no tipping. There's no labor cost… All of these things are going to become robotic over these next few years."