A survey of Hawaii restaurant managers reveals a tepid outlook for the survival of the local dining industry in the wake of the economic destruction inflicted by COVID-19.

Among the key findings are that 56% of restaurant managers said they have seriously considering closing the business permanently.

Nearly 70% of respondents said their business can only survive three to six more months under present social distancing rules. Take-out service, even with menu alterations, does not generate enough business on its own to keep a sweeping number of restaurants financially afloat, respondents said.

Only 11% of survey participants said it’s likely that their restaurant will ever be profitable under current social distancing and operating cost conditions.

All told, 44% of participants said their restaurant would not be able to survive even if the landlord deferred rent for up to six months.

The report, published on Aug. 14,  is the second in a series of surveys conducted by the University of Hawaii Manoa’s Public Policy Center focusing on the recovery of the restaurant industry, which, before the pandemic, employed 85,000 workers.

The survey respondent pool includes 205 managers of restaurants and food service businesses statewide. Their responses do not take into account the current ban on dine-in service underway on Oahu.

While a prior survey focused on the experiences of managers in April and May, just before restaurants were authorized to restart indoor food service, the most recent survey zeroes in on the time period about a month after dine-in service restarted, which was June 5 for restaurants on Oahu.

A third survey is expected to follow at the end of October.

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