US restaurant group launches national campaign as operators struggle to survive

Published on
September 1, 2020

The National Restaurant Association is launching a nationwide consumer advertising campaign to encourage diners to come back to eat at restaurants, as they continue to feel significant financial impact from dining room closures due to COVID-19.

The multimedia Restaurant Revival campaign taps into the sights and sounds associated with dining out and asks diners, “Doesn’t dining out sound good?” the NRA said in a press release.

“This campaign is about reigniting the memories we cherish about dining out,” NRA President and CEO Tom Bené said. “While diners have been able to enjoy some restaurant meals through take-out and delivery, we all have missed hearing the words, ‘Your table is ready,’ and the unique experiences that dining out provides.”

NRA said it acknowledges safety is top-of-mind for returning diners, so the ad “pairs the familiar sights and sounds with new visual safety cues, including servers wearing masks and the ServSafe Dining Commitment door decal,” Bené said.

The NRA and ServSafe, a a food and beverage safety training and certificate program, recently launched the ServSafe Dining Commitment, an initiative showcasing restaurants that have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to the health and safety of their employees and guests.

“Through participation in the program, a restaurant is assuring returning customers that the operation is following recommended reopening guidance and is ready for business,” NRA said.

On the ServSafe Dining website, consumers can see what restaurants are doing to keep them safe and use a locator tool to find participating restaurants.

The campaign is getting underway as a growing number of restaurants across the United States close their doors and struggle to pay rent.

For example, Red Lobster faces a USD 380 million loan (EUR 318 million) due in July 2021 and is struggling to pay some landlords.

In New York City, where only outdoor dining is currently allowed, 88 percent of restaurant and bar owners said they could not pay their full rent in July, the NYC Hospitality Alliance said in a press release.

The city’s restaurants and bars employ 200,000 fewer people than they did in March, and nearly 60 percent of hospitality industry workers are without jobs, the group said.

Meanwhile, airport foodservice operator HMSHost is laying off at least 3,000 employees by mid-October in response to its coronavirus-related struggles, Restaurant Business reported.

Photo courtesy of National Restaurant Association

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