Iowa Restaurant Closures Continue Amid Hope for Industry Recovery, but it Could be an Uneven One

February 22, 2021
Jeff Kappen discusses how consumer confidence in the restaurant industry could lead to resumed activity once consumers feel safe.

DES MOINES, Iowa —Despite continued closures, leaders of Iowa's restaurant industry are hopeful for a comeback as more people get COVID-19 vaccines, but they're also worried some communities may be left out of a resurgence.

Four Iowa restaurants are on the auction block in the span of a week's time at Backes Commercial Auctioneers in Raymond, according to a company Facebook post.

One of those restaurants is Saints Pub & Patio in Des Moines' Beaverdale neighborhood. A post on Backes' Facebook page says it has closed. KCCI reached out to the restaurant's owner but did not receive comment.

A longtime Des Moines-area buffet restaurant has also closed and is up for auction. Bonanza Steakhouse, located on NE 14th Street just north of Interstate 80/35 in Polk County, closed due to COVID-19 after decades in business.

Drake University Business Professor Jeff Kappen agrees that consumer confidence is ultimately tied to the virus.

"I think the pent-up demand is there,"Kappen said. "At the end of the day, as soon as people feel safe, I think activity will resume."

Kappen said analysts think it may take years for the hospitality industry to fully recover, but the Des Moines area could have an advantage.

"As Des Moines is a hub for activity in the region, cultural events and conventions and tournaments and events that bring people to the capital city region, I think that that helps us recover a little bit faster," he said. "People who maybe just want to do a couple regional day trips, or maybe they want to come to a festival early in the summer, that will drive demand in Des Moines that would potentially speed up the recovery for restaurateurs and other people who operate in the sector."

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