New Yorkers like getting booze with their take-out food and want to make the offering permanent after the coronavirus passes, according to a restaurant industry survey released Tuesday.
The New York State Restaurant Association said allowing alcoholic drink purchases with take-out meals during the COVID-19 crisis has provided a “lifeline” to eateries during the lockdown.
As it turns out, the booze and food option is popular with customers, too, the online survey of 500 New Yorkers revealed.
The poll found that 86 percent of New York adults are in favor of permanently allowing the purchase of alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer with their take-out meals.
Currently, the option is only temporary under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to aid restaurants that were closed for indoor dining back in March to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
But there is already legislation introduced to extend the booze offering post-pandemic.
Many eateries stayed open for pickup and delivery, and the ability to sell alcohol with those meal purchases was a huge boost to their sales, the trade group said.
Booze purchases are especially important for New York City dining establishments, with the phase-in of indoor dining postponed to prevent another coronavirus outbreak that has occurred in other states.
“Governor Cuomo provided a lifeline for the industry by allowing for takeout and delivery of alcoholic beverages during the height of the pandemic,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.
“Not only have restaurants embraced this change, but so has the general public. We know that takeout and delivery will be an important part of restaurants sales moving forward, and we want alcoholic beverages to be part of that equation. Just about every restaurant in the state has been crushed this year and continuing alcohol to-go will help them all get back on their feet.”
The survey found that 93 percent of Millennials (ages 24-39) support measures to make the purchase of takeout or delivery alcoholic beverages permanent, as did 90 percent of Gen-Xers (ages 40-55).
Nearly two-thirds of respondents — 64 percent — say they purchased takeout or delivery meals the previous week. About half the take-out patrons ordered booze with their food.
“Our members need this measure to become permanent for their restaurants to survive,” said Fleischut. “Since the start of the pandemic, the industry lost 80 percent of its jobs. And while some are coming back, we’re not back to pre-pandemic levels.
“We are supportive of any measure that will boost sales and help us get our employees who were laid off or furloughed back to work.”