Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Management, Marketing, and Organizational Communication

Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Zachary Daniels


COVID-19 appeared unpredictably in late 2019 and developed into the most catastrophic global outbreak of the last century over the course of the next three years. The highly contagious virus infected hundreds of millions of people worldwide and was responsible for the death of millions. Beyond the devastating health impact the virus had on the world, pandemic related shutdowns resulted in massive economic consequences. Social distancing measures resulted in months long shutdowns and restrictions for businesses throughout the United States, resulting in massive revenue and employment losses. Of specific industries heavily impacted by the pandemic in the United States, the American restaurant industry was devastated by the pandemic and its shutdowns. Despite being among America’s largest industries by employment and being impacted by COVID-19 significantly worse than most other industries, three years later the restaurant industry is still fighting to recover. This paper is intended to answer the question of what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was on the American restaurant industry. This question will be further examined as 3 sub-questions; these questions are: 1. How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the American restaurant industry? 2. How were independent restaurants impacted by the pandemic in comparison to restaurant chains? 3. How did the pandemic change the future of the restaurant industry?