As an out-in-front restaurant owner and operator, our own Dan Simons was asked by CNBC to offer his professional insight into the U.S. Federal Government shutdown as it entered it’s 21st day today, and the widespread, devastating effects it is having on the restaurant industry, and elsewhere.
“I’m really concerned about my staff,” Dan told CNBC, in the now-viral piece entitled, Government shutdown hits DC restaurants, but some are offering free food and other deals.
Dan adds, “I’m also immensely worried about programs like SNAP (the federally-funded Food and Nutrition Service’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program providing nutritional assistance to millions of our country’s low-income individuals and families), running out of funding. That is unconscionable.”
As co-owner of VSAG client, Farmers Restaurant Group, Dan expressed further concern as he and his team are now seeing a decrease in traffic and in turn sales are down approximately 15 to 30 percent at his DMV area, farmer-owned restaurant concepts, such as Founding Farmers. That decrease translates to less tips and staff hours for his team, and less in returns to their farmer partners.
“The government shutdown is having a serious effect on American family farmers. Agricultural research, grants, rural loans, and investigations of anticompetitive activities have all been suspended,” Dan said. “It is a triple whammy for American family farmers – tariffs have been decreasing demand, now the drop in all restaurant industry sales related to the shutdown reduces demand for farmed product, and the million+ families affected by the shutdown don’t have money to spend in grocery stores and farmers markets.”
With all this considered and the impact this shutdown is having at every level, Dan calls the effects “staggering.”
But, he remains committed to making a difference wherever he can. “For as long as the shutdown rages on,” Dan says, “I’ll keep looking for ways to feed families that are affected, along with organizations like the FBI, Coast Guard, and TSA… who are working without pay.”