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Poll highlights the struggles of the restaurant industry in New York

Posted at 11:51 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 23:51:44-04

Twenty months into the pandemic and many local restaurants are still struggling. A new survey by the New York State Restaurants Association shows most restaurants are seeing fewer customers in recent months.

“People don't understand how bad it's getting,” said Chris McCann, the owner of Mooney’s on Military in the Town of Tonawanda.

Monday, his restaurant had to close. McCann said he didn't have enough staff. McCann says finding people to work remains close to impossible.

“I had 15 interviews one day, one showed up. And then, the one that I hired, he didn't show up for his first shift,” said McCann.

The New York State Restaurant Association released polling results that show a similar story throughout the state.

Of 206 restaurants that were polled:

62% have seen slower businesses over the past three months.
71% said sales are down from pre-pandemic levels.
78% said they don't have enough staff to keep up with demand.
92% said their costs are up since before the pandemic.

McCann is seeing just this at his Tonawanda sports bar and grill.

“It's not about making a profit it's about surviving for us,” added McCann.

Of the restaurants polled, 67% don't believe their situation will get any better over the next year.

“It's only going to get worse before it gets better,” said McCann.

McCann says his prices will eventually increase.