Arizona restaurant leader expects slow industry recovery from pandemic

By Rachel Gossen | KTAR 

The president of the Arizona Restaurant Association said that while the industry is turning around amid falling COVID-19 metrics, it will be a slow return to pre-pandemic revenue.

“If you still owe back rent, you’re going to have to pay that now. If you still have equipment that deteriorated because you were shutdown, whether its keg systems or whatever the like, you’re going to start to have some capital expenditures as well,” Steve Chucri told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Friday. “I believe because of those factors, we might be a little slow coming out of this.

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“By third quarter, fourth quarter this year, I’m very optimistic that because of demand that we will hopefully see back to 2019 numbers by that time frame.”

Arizona lost around 1,200 restaurants over the past year, Chucri said, and close to $2.75 billion in restaurant sales.

Nationally, the restaurant industry lost $275 billion in revenue after it was estimated to bring in a profit of almost a trillion dollars before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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