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How Omicron is Impacting Restaurant Sales

New data shows that the latest COVID-19 variant is further exacerbating ongoing labor shortages and supply-chain issues.

Although the restaurant industry was showing signs of pandemic recovery late last year, the rapidly spreading omicron variant is resulting in slower traffic heading into 2022. According to, restaurant visits declined 10.5% the week of Dec. 20 compared to the same period in 2019. This marks the steepest decline in three months, and a 13% slowdown from the week before.

In addition to increased customer hesitancy, omicron is bringing even greater shortages of staff and supplies — two challenges that have proven to be a major concern for restaurants over the past year.

“The biggest near-term risk is on the supply side, as high case counts are likely to exacerbate staffing issues, with increased closures and reduced operating hours,” Lyle Margolis, senior director with Fitch Ratings, said on the first day of the ICR Conference Monday.

According to the New York Times, 7.9 million Americans have been confirmed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days — the largest surge in infections since the start of the pandemic two years ago. 

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