National Restaurant Association Interim president & CEO Marvin Irby and Association Board Chair Melvin Rodrigue were among the restaurant leaders who met with President Donald J. Trump today to discuss how the industry has been impacted by job losses and closures related to COVID-19, and to hear from President Trump about his plans for industry recovery in the days ahead.

Irby shared that the industry has lost more than 8 million jobs and over $240 billion in industry revenue as a result of COVID-related closures.

“While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been a great program for many businesses, including some restaurants, the industry’s unique business model has presented qualification and implementation challenges for many restaurants, and as a result they have not used the program,” he says.

“Because restaurants were the first industry to close as a result of COVID mandates, and will likely be one of the last to fully reopen and return to traditional full-service, on-premises operations in the months ahead, it is vital that we all work together to help restaurants and employees get relief and rebuild,” Irby adds.

“The restaurant industry is the second-largest private sector employer in the country, and we have lost more jobs and more revenue than any other industry as a result of this pandemic,” says Rodrigue, who is also CEO of Galatoire’s New Orleans. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to find the best opportunities to support the recovery of the industry and the U.S. economy.”

Other attendees at the meeting included Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin; National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow; Jose Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International; Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread; Will Guidara, Make It Nice Hospitality; Sean Feeney, Grovehouse Hospitality; James Bodenstedt, MUY! Companies; Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s; Tim Love, Texas-based chef, operator and TV personality; and, Thomas Keller of Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.

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