COVID survey: Hospitality industry loses 249 revenue days

Published 9:30 am Thursday, March 24, 2022

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ST. PAUL — A new survey of hospitality businesses in Minnesota shows just how hard the industry was hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult journey toward economic recovery.

The survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Explore Minnesota Tourism and Hospitality Minnesota projected an economic loss of more than $15 billion in state revenue for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Shutdowns and restrictions contributed to the loss of up to 249 days worth of revenue for some businesses, according the the survey.

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The two industries report 32,000 fewer workers overall in comparison with employment before the coronavirus hit, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
As the pandemic continues, restaurant owners especially indicated how hard it has been to manage with labor shortages.

When Chef Rob Giuliani opened Tacos Tacos Tacos in Duluth in March 2021, he said it was “almost nearly impossible” to find staff. Giuliani said he ended up working “crazy hours” when the restaurant opened to combat the shortage of workers.

According to the survey, the food service industry still remains “the most vulnerable” to collapse. Forty-six percent of owners report concerns of insolvency in the next six to 12 months or less.

“People don’t realize that restaurant owners aren’t millionaires. We aren’t even 100-aires. We’re living month to month, week to week, just like everybody else. Then getting into the pandemic where we’re shutting down, a lot of restaurant owners put everything we had into these restaurants. All of our money, all of our savings, we put up our houses. It was hard,” said Steve Hesse of Eclectic Culinary Concepts, which has restaurants in St. Paul and Edina.