Restaurants push for more funding following omicron variant

National Restaurant Association finds 86% of restaurants seeing less customers
Lucy's Caf
Posted at 10:10 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 10:10:47-05

Restaurants are pushing for another round of relief from the federal government following the latest omicron variant.

The Michigan Restaurant And Lodging Association just released findings from a survey on how the variant is impacting restaurants around the state.

According to the MRLA, the survey found 86 percent of restaurants saw a decline in customers dining in recent weeks, resulting in fewer profits all because of the omicron variant.

Lucy’s Cafe in the Creston neighborhood, like many around West Michigan, has been changing its day-to-day operations just to survive.

Executive Chef Danielle Scott is the brains behind each delicious dish that leaves the kitchen. She says, although this pandemic has caused her to get creative, it hasn’t put a damper on her passion.

“I was in graphic design before I got into this, so a lot of things are up in my head, and then it comes out on a plate and I’m like ‘oh that’s cool,’” Scott said.

Nearly two years into this pandemic, Scott remembers how she felt when restaurants initially took a big hit.“It was terrifying and heartbreaking,” Scott said.

The latest struggle for Lucy’s Cafe has been increasing prices of goods, and the availability of goods.

“There's been weeks where I can not find hash browns and I'm going to Meijer and getting those green bags that you'd use at home just to have enough here,” Scott said.

From the dining restrictions at the start of this pandemic to supply chain issues, inflation, labor shortages, and now the Omicron variant, Scott counts herself lucky her restaurant has remained open.

A recent survey from the National Restaurant Association finds that omicron is causing more headaches for restaurants. 76 percent of restaurant owners say business conditions are worse now than they were just three months ago. Nearly 50 percent of restaurants who didn’t get money from the restaurant revitalization fund say they won’t survive this pandemic.

President and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Justin Winslow says demand to eat out will return, but cash flow to meet the growing demand past this variant will not.

"The Restaurant Vitalization Fund proved efficient and effective the first time around, and I think Congress should finish the job and fully fund it like it did not do in the first place,” Winslow said.

Recently a pair of senators introduced the Continuing Emergency Support For Restaurants Act which would add $48 billion to the fund.

Today Danielle continues to grind, not letting this pandemic put a damper on her passion. She has this message for her loyal customer base:

“Pick these neighborhood spots that are just as good and you're going to find something you like but that's what we need,” Scott said.