The National Restaurant Associated released a mid-year state of the restaurant industry report on Tuesday, calculating all the changes and improvements the industry has faced from Jan. through June 2021.

According to the report, the two biggest challenges to the industry’s recovery are increased customer hesitancy around the delta variant, and the ongoing labor squeeze. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant employment numbers are still 8% below pre-pandemic numbers and demand keeps growing.

“The trends from the first half of the year are promising, but a lot of uncertainty remains in regard to the delta variant, consumer confidence, and ongoing labor challenges,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association said in a statement. “We expect restaurant pent-up demand will remain high in the coming months. However, in this state of flux, maintaining the availability of on-site dining with few capacity restrictions will be critical to keeping the overall sales momentum going forward, especially for full-service operators.”


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