( The Packer )

A look at the Google Trends for the week of April 14 to April 21 reveals some of the top questions in the search bar related to "restaurants" is, “When are restaurants going to reopen?”

Ironically, one of the fastest-rising search bar phrases associated with "supermarkets" was “supermarkets closing down in California.”

That could be related to a CNN story with the headline “Experts say it may be time for grocery stores to ban customers from coming inside because of Covid-19.”

That story noted that dozens of grocery store workers have died from the coronavirus, and some union leaders and others are advocating closing stores to the public and “repurposing” them for pickup and delivery only.

Other experts quoted in the story pointed out that it wouldn’t work to expect all grocery stores to operate with only delivery or grocery pickup. It just isn't possible.

That is especially true since food-away-from-home options are so limited.

An April 20 update from Darden Restaurants reports that for the fourth quarter to date (the fourth quarter ends in late May) , Darden same-restaurant sales declined  44.7%.

For the week ending April 19, Olive Garden same-store sales were down 44.8% compared with year-ago levels, with the LongHorn Steakhouse down 59.2% and Darden's fine dining restaurants down 86.3%.

On a brighter note, Darden reported that to-go weekly sales per restaurant for Olive Garden have increased from $16,000 in early March to more than $50,000 by mid-April.

In other news, check out USDA reports on COVID-19 impacts on the food supply chain in Japan and India.

Check out a new National Restaurant Association report on the economic damage caused by COVID-19

From the report: 

"Based on these results, the National Restaurant Association estimates that the restaurant and foodservice industry will lose more than $50 billion in sales in April, if the current trends continue through the end of the month. 

Sales losses were widespread across segments during the first 10 days of April. Ninety-eight percent of operators in each of the three tableservice segments reported lower sales during the period between April 1 and April 10. On average, sales were down more than 80 percent in each segment."


Yes,  when will the restaurants open back up?