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Less Than 10% Of NYC Restaurants Paid Full Rent In December


Fewer and fewer restaurant owners are paying full rent to their landlords, while thousands more have closed their doors permanently and jobs are wiped out.

In New York City, 92% of restaurant owners didn't meet their full rent obligations in the last month of 2020, according to a new survey of 400 restaurateurs from the NYC Hospitality Alliance. That's the highest figure in the monthly survey since the coronavirus crisis began. Last June, 80% of restaurants could not afford to pay rent, which increased to 83% a month later. By October, 88% were not able to fully pay their rent.

“We’re nearly a year into the public health and economic crisis that has decimated New York City’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues,” NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said in a statement. “While the reopening of highly regulated indoor dining is welcome news, we need to safely increase occupancy to 50% as soon as possible, and we urgently need robust and comprehensive financial relief from the federal government.”

He added the group is working with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to continue to push for a $25B recovery fund that is part of President Joe Biden’s rescue package, as well as the RESTAURANTS Act, which was reintroduced to Congress earlier this month.

Just 40% of landlords reduced rent because of the crisis, according to the survey, while 36% of landlords agreed to defer rent. Just 14% of businesses said they have been able to renegotiate leases.

While the city had 25,000 restaurants before the pandemic, the Alliance notes thousands have closed and more than 140,000 jobs have been lost from the industry in the last 12 months. Bars and restaurants have faced enormous challenges over the last year, as government-imposed closures and diminished traffic have hit their bottom lines. Many are working with their landlords to get a break on their rents, and others have reached percentage rent deals to stay afloat.

In December, Alicart CEO Jeffrey Bank, who owns restaurants including Carmine’s and Virgil’s Real Barbecue, said on Bisnow’s podcast he considered it a failure of government that there has been little support for the ailing industry in the U.S.

“All you can do is react, there’s no more planning … Times Square is a war zone, it needs its own Marshall Plan in and of itself,” he said. “This whole 10 months feels like two steps forward, one kick in the head.”