Restaurant Crisis Worsens: Even as Infections Go Down, Restaurant Rent Defaults Go Up

restaurant crisis survey NYC
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The NYC Hospitality Alliance conducted an important survey for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and event venues in NYC about their rent obligations during COVID-19.


In case New York City needed another sign affirming its small business and commercial rent crisis, a new survey released last month by the NYC Hospitality Alliance found that nearly 9 in 10 restaurants, bars and nightlife venues could not pay full rent in August. The survey numbers are representative of outdoor dining in full swing, which has many restaurant owners desperate for indoor dining to resume at 25 percent occupancy on September 30 and a roadmap for expanding further as soon as possible.

The survey of more than 450 restaurants, bars, and nightlife establishments found that 87 percent of businesses could not pay full rent in August, and 34 percent were unable to pay any rent at all. As New York’s infection rate remains low, the number of restaurant’s unable to pay rent remains high, increasing from 83 percent in July and 80 percent in June.

According to the survey, sixty percent of landlords still have not waived rent during the Covid-19 pandemic, and of landlords that did waive rent, less than one-third waived more than 50 percent. The survey also found that 90 percent of respondents could not renegotiate their lease as a result of Covid-19.

restaurant crisis survey NYC“Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Even before the pandemic when operating at 100 percent occupancy, these small businesses were struggling to stay open. Now we’re seeing widespread closures, approximately 150,000 industry workers are still out of their jobs, and the overwhelming majority of these remaining small businesses cannot afford to pay rent. The hospitality industry is essential to New York’s economic and social fabric, and to ensure the survival of these vital small businesses and jobs, we urgently need rent relief, an indefinite extension of outdoor dining, a roadmap for expanded indoor dining, covered business interruption insurance and immediate passage of the Restaurants Act by Congress.”

For full survey results, a link to the results are available here: https://thenycalliance.org/assets/documents/informationitems/ZjN6w.pdf


The NYC Hospitality Alliance is a not-for-profit association representing restaurants and nightlife establishments in the five boroughs. The Alliance advocates on behalf of its members in the halls of government and in the media. We support pro-growth policies that support small business and reduce regulatory burdens. We offer restaurateurs and nightlife professionals information, education, consulting and events to help them grow, succeed and forge a strong and vibrant hospitality industry community.

  • RATIONAL USA
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Atosa USA
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • McKee Foods
  • Inline Plastics
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Imperial Dade
  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • RAK Porcelain
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • McKee Foods
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Easy Ice
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Atosa USA
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • Inline Plastics
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Day & Nite
  • BelGioioso Burrata
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