BEREA, Ohio — The National Restaurant Association is joining the list of people asking Congress to pass a new stimulus, saying restaurants may not survive without it — a dire warning and a desperate plea to save our restaurant industry.
Already this year, 100,000 restaurants have closed around the country, and the association says another 10,000 could close in just the next three weeks.
Almost all of the full-service restaurants surveyed by the group saw their business fall by more than a third during the pandemic and they expect it to get worse.
In the meantime, local restaurants are getting the word out and asking us for help.
Heather Doeberling, the owner of Boss Chick 'n Beer in Berea, said her restaurant industry colleagues are asking each other, "'What are you thinking? How are we going to get through this?'”
After having to close one of her restaurants and now fighting to save another, those are concerns that she shares.
“We know we’re not prepared to make it through the winter,” Doeberling said. “We’re really fighting hard for Boss Chicken."
She's taking advantage of her reach on social media to sound the alarm, and "try to help a lot of people I know are not going to make it."
In a Facebook post, Doeberling explains just how dire of a situation this is for restaurant owners.
“Here’s how you can help...and third-party delivery ain’t it,” said Doeberling.
Doeberling, who was forced to close her burrito restaurant back in March because of the pandemic, learned something from that experience.
“A lot of the fans of Boca Loca just didn’t know. They didn’t know we weren’t going to make it,” said Doeberling.
Before she and other chefs find themselves in that same situation, she's raising awareness.
“I’m telling you right now, I’ve got the inside track, they’re not going to make it, they’re in trouble, you have to help,” said Doeberling.
Doeberling pleaded with the public to order food directly from their favorite places and buy gift cards.
“Don’t think they’re going to be there for your next birthday, cause they’re probably not,” said Doeberling.
As for why the risk of closing is escalating now, restaurants have been unable to stow the money away they typically use to survive the winter months.
“We haven’t seen this much snow this early. It’s almost adding insult to injury,” said Doeberling.
While Doeberling said her business is holding its ground, she knows that is not the case elsewhere.
“There’s a lot of other people that need help too and let’s spread the love around,” said Doeberling.
As Doeberling waits for the community to step up, she is also calling on her fellow chefs in Cleveland to do the same.
“The sense of urgency is so great that we just have to be a little more humble and say I need your help and that’s just it,” said Doeberling.