More Pain Ahead for Landlords as Restaurant Bankruptcies Poised to Balloon in Coming Months

Industry analysts and restructuring experts say another wave of restaurant bankruptcies is looming, as government funds run out and the cooler months roll around, making the outdoor dining less viable.

by Amelia Lucas and Lauren Thomas

Restaurants have so far limped along through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. But key pillars of support for their businesses will soon evaporate, spelling disaster for their eateries — and their landlords.

The pandemic has, essentially from its inception, upended the restaurant industry, sending sales plunging in the early days of lockdowns. The National Restaurant Association estimates it lost $165 billion in sales between March and July, and Yelp data showed 15,770 permanent restaurant closures, as of July 22.

Restaurant sales cautiously rebounded in the summer months, driven by outdoor dining and cooking fatigue. But the approaching cold weather could halt or even reverse progress. Industry experts don’t expect a full recovery until a coronavirus vaccine is available.

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