Jun 4, 2021 - News

Iowa's restaurant industry shows resiliency through pandemic

Illustration of an open sign with a fork and knife.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Iowa's restaurants survived better than what was projected early in the pandemic, some initial reviews indicate.

Why it matters: Restaurants carry significant economic influence in our communities and help shape our cultural and personal connections.

By the numbers: The Iowa Restaurant Association last year estimated that 20%, roughly 1,000 restaurants, would permanently shutter because of the crisis.

  • It's now projected to be closer to 750, Jessica Dunker, the group's president, told Axios.
  • 626 full-service food establishments closed between March 1, 2020 and May 25, according to Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals data.

Yes, but: The actual loss is lower because the state tracks licenses by location.

  • Restaurant's like Kathmandu that recently moved to a new place in Windsor Heights are among those on the list because its old spot closed.

The big picture: More than 110K eating and drinking establishments closed in the U.S. due to the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The bottom line: State and federal assistance as well as some restaurant regulatory changes helped Iowa's eateries "hobble through," Dunker said.


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