Other Businesses Suffer in Pandemic Due to Restaurant ‘Multiplier Effect'

Reopening Restaurants Has Bigger Impact Than You Think

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Restaurants have been welcoming back diners for the first time in months.

It has not been business as usual but it could be an economic turning point.

When restaurants had to move to takeout only, it caused a big disruption on local farms. Suddenly, they had milk, vegetables and oysters to sell, but no one to buy them.

Dr. Brian Marks, an economics lecturer at the University of New Haven, said the food and beverage industry has had a  "multiplier effect." 

Simply put, when it suffers, other sectors have suffered too, including agriculture,  breweries, distributors, payroll and insurance companies and, of course, the state of Connecticut, which benefits from the money we spend when dining out.

“Approximately 50% of our dollars spent on food go to the restaurant industry. So that's pretty substantial," Marks said.

And then there are the jobs-- more than 160,000 people in our state work in food service, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

 Historically, the restaurant industry has survived hard times.

Marks said business at quick-service restaurants was actually booming during the 2008 recession.

But this has not been just an economic crisis, Marks said. 

"The restaurants have to be able to convince us that we can trust the environment in which we're walking into," he said.

Scott Dolch, with the CT Restaurant Association, said his members are ready to meet the challenge. 

“Our industry is a leader in safety and sanitation. We always have been. And you're going to see us take it a step further here," he said.

Marks predicted that some restaurants won't recover, but believes the industry as a whole will pull through, "Because even as we move forward, remember eating in restaurants is a social activity."

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