The restaurant industry gained 286,000 jobs in February, recouping about 73 percent of the losses it suffered in the previous two months.
The news is in line with how sales have trended for restaurants, particularly in the full-service industry. After traveling on a road to recovery in October, casual-dining brands like Red Robin, IHOP, and BJ’s saw same-store sales sink in November and December due to rising COVID cases and additional restrictions.
Because of the intense headwinds, food and drink places lost roughly 372,000 jobs in December and 19,000 in January. These two months marked the industry’s first decline in employment since losing roughly six million in March and April of last year.
However, restaurants have seen better fortune in 2021 as restrictions and COVID cases have receded. Hospitalizations in the U.S. have returned to October levels, and the country is now averaging two million vaccinations per day. There will be enough supply to vaccinate every adult American by the end of May, which is two months ahead of schedule.