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In 2020, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) promised $60 billion in funding, but it was cut to $28.6 billion. That fund was exhausted within a month, and by the end of 2021, more than 100,000 US restaurants closed permanently, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). When the omicron variant hit, 88% of US restaurants lost customers again. The NRA is now pleading with lawmakers to reconsider the $48 billion in pending fund applications to avoid another wave of permanent closures.
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Quit rates in the hospitality industry grew from 4.8% in 2020 to 7% in 2021. That's more than in any other industry, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the past year, while other industries have seen modest hiring growth, restaurant job growth has remained stagnant at 8%. Restaurant workers often cite factors like low pay, long hours, poor benefits, and increased potential exposure to COVID. To help retain staff, restaurateurs are beginning to offer higher pay, better benefits, and flexible scheduling. Will it be enough?
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OK. Maybe I am a fan of roundups. At the end of the year, we take stock of things, right? We look back. We celebrate the good stuff that happened and try to learn from the bad. 2021 had a lot of good and bad for restaurants. The best thing about these Eater awards is they span more than 15 cities across the US. Even Montreal and London are included. Here's to more great places to eat in 2022.
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This year, fire and char captured the imaginations of Esquire's editors. Stunning vegan dishes also made the grade. Four hungry reporters deliver their largest lineup ever of notable new eateries from New York and Los Angeles to San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Miami, Houston, Birmingham, New Orleans, Hawaii, and more. It's almost enough to put a dent in DoorDash's business.
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This year's top two restaurants are both located in a single city: Copenhagen. Chef Rene Redzepi's restaurant, Noma, has again claimed the #1 spot, the fifth time it has done so. American restaurants on the prestigious list include Cosme, Atomix and Le Bernardin in New York City, and Benu, Atelier Crenn and Single Thread in California.