15% Of The Country’s Chain Restaurant Locations Were In Hurricane-Exposed Areas
An estimated 15% of American restaurant chains could be picking up the pieces of some of their locations after being exposed to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Fiesta Restaurant Group had some of the largest exposure, with more than 70% of its brands, including Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, in Florida and the Houston area.
Bigger chains, including Starbucks, could also be heavily impacted. The coffee giant had already closed 700 stores due to the hurricane, but there are even more in the regions impacted by the storms, Yahoo reports.
While the actual impact of the hurricane-force winds could be relatively short-lived, there will be longer-term effects because of storm surges and torrential rain. Gas price hikes could also affect restaurant chains by preventing people from driving and spending money to eat at restaurants.
The news comes shortly after numbers in August pointed to an industrywide decline in same-store sales. The 2% drop shows that many restaurants were already failing to attract customers. The latest events may only add to this bleak outlook.
It is not all bad news for restaurants. Those in malls are seeing increasing popularity, largely driven by millennials who are now spending more money eating out than buying consumer goods. And the sector is still the driving force of struggling brick-and-mortar retail, as more and more restaurants nationwide are occupying spaces previously filled by clothing and furniture sellers.