Jan 13, 2021 - Economy

José Andrés: Restaurant industry survival is key for economic recovery

Screenshot of axios virtual event

Photo: Axios screenshot

José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen and celebrated chef, said during an Axios event that survival of restaurants is a crucial part of the U.S. economic recovery as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the industry.

Why it matters: The hospitality industry has faced an existential crisis since the beginning of the pandemic. "With new rounds of state-mandated restaurant and bar restrictions, and winter weather limiting outdoor dining, food services accounted for 372,000 job losses in December," the Washington Post writes.

  • As of September, 100,000 closed either permanently or long-term, according to the National Restaurant Association.

What he's saying: "You need to remember that the restaurant, every dollar getting in trickles down through the economy ... So restaurants are a hard, complicated business, but when the restaurants function, our cities function better, our rural areas function better," Andrés said.

  • The industry "employs directly millions of people and directly millions more. We are "talking distribution, we are talking farmers," he continued.
  • "We need to make sure that ... the food industry is not an industry that lives on the fringe of almost poverty, but that every American employee, every restaurant worker will make a decent living that will allow them, even in difficult moments like these, to make it through with savings and other forms of protection."
  • "[T]he people that feed America are almost under the poverty level. This is something like fundamentally has to change."

Watch the full event here.

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