Back in September, we reported on the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the restaurant industry. Compared to the previous 3 weeks, the Houston metropolitan area saw a decrease of 49.6% in restaurant sales, and the Florida region saw a decrease of 25.0%. The gap between the two is largely due to a significantly smaller loss in beverage sales in the wake of Irma in Florida.
Now that 2 months have passed since the storms made land fall and many restaurants have opened their doors again, how have the two regions recovered from the devastation?
Matt Goldstein, Regional Director/Operating Partner of Ocean Prime in Florida, a brand within the Cameron Mitchell group, says of the recovery efforts, “the impacts of Hurricane Irma have been both costly and inspiring. All three of our Florida properties had some degree of loss. Two of the three properties have sustained minor water and wind damage. All three-lost power for periods of time with Naples being down the longest for two weeks. All three properties experienced significant sales and product losses due to this.”
Eater reports 105,000 lost jobs in the restaurant industry in September. It’s been a tough struggle for restaurants to clean up and re-open for business. According to CNBC, “it takes a business about 14 days to recover from a natural disaster.”
Looking at data from thousands of local restaurants, those affected by Irma seem to have recovered after just a few short weeks, while restaurants affected by Harvey took a bit longer to recover, even with a boost from the World Series. It took Houston-area restaurants 8 weeks to have sales that were above-average during the measured time period. Florida-area restaurant sales, on the other hand, were back to usual levels within just a few short weeks of the storm.
Despite the destruction, the industry truly came together during the hard time to help those affected. Matt added, “I was personally moved and inspired by the dedication of the leaders of [the three affected] properties. Each of them put the safety of their associates and their families ahead of their own. The communities in Naples, Orlando, and Tampa really came together for relief efforts. I am especially proud of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which as a private company raised almost $50,000 for the combined Florida and Houston relief fund, and over $20,000 for the local Naples team that was out of work for two weeks.”