SAN LEANDRO, California. – The great damage of the epidemic to the restaurant industry can be seen in the cave warehouse of José Bonilla Jr., which is full of industrial stoves, grills, mixers, refrigerators, tables and chairs.
Bonilla’s family-owned American Restaurant Supply in San Leandro, California, buys used appliances, furniture, and other equipment as restaurants close in San Francisco Bay.
“We have an influx of equipment coming in,” said Bonilla, whose family founded the company more than 40 years ago.
The COVID-19 epidemic has forced tens of thousands of restaurants to close their doors forever as restrictions on dining keep customers away. But it was also a benefit for commercial auctioneers who buy used equipment, sell it to restaurants that have been able to stay afloat, especially those who have expanded their export business, and want to steal stocks at commercial prices.
“As the epidemic continues to affect businesses, the auction industry has, in fact, become more vibrant as the economy has weakened, especially in small businesses, in food service equipment,” said Uction von Schultz, a member of the National Auction Association.
Schultz is Grafe Auction’s chief marketing and technology agent based in Rochester, Minnesota, which helps restaurants sell their assets to other businesses in the state after they stop using their assets.
The company held 289 auctions in 2020, compared to 203 in 2019. ունեցել had its most profitable month in August since the company was founded in 1959, Schultz said.
“It’s a bittersweet thing for me because I see these businesses closing,” Schultz said. “It is sad for me, but for us, in fact, it is a record year”, 2020.
A new report by the National Restaurant Association shows the devastating impact of the epidemic on the restaurant industry, which lost 110,000 businesses last year, or about 17% of the total.
“We have never seen such losses,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. “This is as difficult a situation for the restaurant industry in this country as we have ever seen.”
The National Restaurant Association is urging Congress to help the country’s besieged restaurants as they negotiate with President Biden over a COVID-19 aid package.
“We need special funding for restaurants, or the employer of the second largest private sector in the country is not going to be much longer,” said Kennedy.
Over the past year, Bonilla has been alerting restaurants that are shutting down to sell their equipment quickly before the next rental check is completed.
Unfortunately, Bonilla said she could not help many of the owners of these restaurants as her warehouse was already full of about 2,000 items. And he does not have enough employees to pick up, test and repair used devices.
“It’s heartbreaking because you know people are proud of restaurants,” Bonilla said. “They put their resources into their business to try to survive, they just can’t survive.”
Among the hardest hit are restaurants that rely on domestic meals, especially in states that have imposed tougher restrictions, say industry officials.
Prior to the epidemic, John Ony Metheny ran four restaurants in San Francisco that had the strictest cooking rules in the country. He temporarily closed two restaurants in the city center and closed the third one forever, Solstice, because it did not have good outdoor dining equipment.
“Unfortunately, I had to give those keys back, because after 10 months of not being able to work, you just can not survive,” said Metheny. “We had 19 employees who, unfortunately, had to be fired. And it ‘s destructive for them, it’ s just crushing me. “
Metini tried to sell the restaurant equipment, but his friend, who runs a commercial auction, refused to buy it because he already had a lot of stock he could not sell.
“He told me, ‘I took so much equipment, nobody wants it.’ So we’re just storing it, “said Metheny, who plans to open a new restaurant when the epidemic ends.