Chai Pani employee Chris O'Leary handed a take-out order to Andrea Guion on November 17, 2020 at the downtown Asheville eatery. Chai Pani is now offering take-out only and their indoor seating remains closed, though they have added three picnic tables on a section of sidewalk in front of the establishment. Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

Did you ever think eating in a restaurant would be a novelty?

On this week’s Kicker, we talk about the effect of the pandemic on the industry with Lynn Minges, president and CEO of the NC Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Katie Button, CEO of Katie Button Restaurants.

While many restaurants received assistance earlier in the year though the Paycheck Protection Act and SBA Loans, they remain in financial distress. Congress is still considering bipartisan legislation that would help a struggling industry.

So far lawmakers have declined to pass the Restaurants Act, but trade groups are hopeful.

According to the National Restaurant Association, consumer spending in restaurants remained below normal levels in October.

Seventy-nine percent of restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in October was lower than it was in October 2019. Overall, sales were down 29% on average.

Read more about the struggle of North Carolina restaurants here.

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Stephanie Carson is the former news and community partnerships manager at Carolina Public Press.

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