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NYC Hospitality Alliance Press Release: Survey Finds Outdoor Dining Key To NYC Restaurants’ Long-Term Economic Recovery

November 14, 2022


– 3 in 4 owners say outdoor dining is integral to the survival of their businesses –

– Just 1 in 5 is optimistic about their ability to recover; Staffing remains top challenge –

NEW YORK, November 14, 2022 –As New York City’s financially devastated restaurants and bars struggle to recoup years of pandemic-induced losses, a survey conducted by the NYC Hospitality Alliance found that restaurant owners view outdoor dining as a must-have component of a long-term recovery plan.

According to a survey of owners and operators of nearly 600 restaurants and bars across the five boroughs, an overwhelming majority of respondents with outdoor dining said the program supported by the NYC Hospitality Alliance – which includes both sidewalk cafes and roadside dining, or “streeteries” – is vital to both their current business and their future viability.

A full 75 percent of respondents said sidewalk cafes are “very important” or “important” to their current businesses, with 78 percent indicating making sidewalk café outdoor dining permanent is “very important” or “important” for their future. 66 percent said streeteries are “very important” or “important” to their current businesses, with 72 percent saying making roadway outdoor dining permanent is “very important” or “important” for their future.

Since Mayor Adams and the new City Council inherited the pandemic-era outdoor dining program still in its temporary emergency status, the mayor’s office and local government officials have rallied behind the program and are now deliberating the guidelines of the permanent outdoor dining policy.

“Dining al fresco has become a beloved feature of restaurant culture for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.“Since its inception, the Open Restaurants Program has saved 100,000 industry jobs and thousands of small businesses from financial collapse. Now as Mayor Adams and the City Council deliberate the details of the permanent outdoor dining program, they must ensure that the final version cuts the bureaucratic red tape and keeps the cost down for restaurants to participate while embracing smart design standards and functionality.”

The Alliance’s survey found that restaurant owners and operators are split about their future in the current business climate, with many uncertain about their pandemic recovery. While the majority face challenges, a plurality of respondents described their general feeling as uncertain, with far fewer expressing outright optimism or pessimism.Hiring and retaining employees was cited as a top challenge by respondents in New York City where restaurants and bars employ 40,000+ fewer people than compared to pre-pandemic employment levels.

About the NYC Hospitality Alliance

The NYC Hospitality Alliance is a not-for-profit association representing restaurants and nightlife establishments in the five boroughs. The Alliance advocates on behalf of its members in the halls of government and in the media. We support pro-growth policies that support small business and reduce regulatory burdens. We offer restaurateurs and nightlife professionals information, education, consulting, and events to help them grow, succeed and forge a strong and vibrant hospitality industry community.