What Does Pizza Hut, Cirque du Soleil, The Chop and Broadway Have in Common?

What Does Pizza Hut, Cirque du Soleil, The Chop and Broadway Have in Common?
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By Jack Kelly

With all of the craziness in the world, we could use a little levity (even if it’s at the expense of someone else—sorry). This person—no matter how hard she tried— couldn’t figure out how to pull up to a gas pump the right way, while a guy and his girlfriend narrated her challenge.

Okay, let’s get back to reality. One of the largest restaurant franchisees in the U.S. is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. The owner of more than 1,200 Pizza Hut restaurants and 385 Wendy’s stores could file for chapter 11 protection as soon as Tuesday. The franchisee missed interest payments on its roughly $800 million in loans. The franchisee, who opened its first Pizza Hut restaurant in 1962, employs over 37,000 people. This means that thousands of more people will be out of work, joining more than 46 million unemployed Americans.

Brian Chesky, the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, offered a dire perspective on the future of travel and tourism. “I will go on the record to say that travel will never, ever go back to the way it was pre-COVID; it just won’t.” If it does recover, Chesky maintains that people won’t go to large cities with hordes of people like Paris and Rome. Instead, they’ll opt for shorter trips. He predicts that vacations will be spent in more rural, less densely populated areas that are within a reasonable driving distance.   

Airbnb, a company whose business model relies upon travel and short-term home and apartment rentals, was seriously financially harmed by the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company previously announced that it would downsize 25% of its workforce. Roughly 1,900 people out of the company’s 7,500 total workforce will lose their jobs. This is one of the largest layoffs that we’ve seen out of Silicon Valley due to the effect of the coronavirus outbreak.

New York City is a major destination for tourists—both from within the United States and around the world. With the mandated shutdowns, Broadway theaters were forced to close down their shows. Broadway is a big business and grossed $1.8 billion last season and attracted a record 15 million people. It’s been reported that the theaters will be forced to stay closed until January 2021. This is a huge financial hit to the workers and all of the restaurants, hotels and stores that benefit from the influx of tourists.  

Fortune magazine noted that New York had the most lives lost to COVID-19, with 31,397 deaths, and the largest drop in leisure and hospitality jobs. Between May 2019 to May 2020, the number of leisure and hospitality jobs in New York fell from 961,000 to 364,100, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That 596,900 drop—or –62.1% decline—is bigger than the 578,759 population of Wyoming.

Cirque du Soleil, the producer of lavish, over-the-top, breathtaking acrobatic shows, has filed for bankruptcy. The filing comes three months after it was forced to shut down its productions because of the pandemic. The company blamed its bankruptcy on the “immense disruption and forced show closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic” and is aiming to restructure its massive debt. About 3,500 jobs will be lost.

CHOP—the six-block radius in Seattle that’s been overtaken by a ragtag collection of protestors, Antifa, BLM, spoiled, rich white kids and other malcontents—is becoming very violent and dangerous. The other night, you could hear gunshots fired and the fear in the video taker’s voice.  After a couple of young people were injured in the CHOP, there was an attempt to transport the children shot to a hospital. This was not an easy task, as the drivers were unaware of how to leave the cordoned-off sector because of all the “antifascist protection barriers” blocking exit checkpoints. Precious time was lost and a 16-year-old died while the 14-year-old is still in critical care.

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