Two of the most iconic restaurants in Salt Lake City have permanently closed their doors. The Blue Plate Diner featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; as well as the place that was nominated the “best cure for a hangover” Coachmans closed. These restaurants as well as at least 400 more have closed in Utah. According to recent data, 17% of all restaurants have closed. Meanwhile, the chains such as Chick-Fil-A, Burger King, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Domino’s Pizza are all posting record numbers. What does this mean?
It means that the local social fabric of our economy is being shredded. The local food movement is getting killed. Farm-to-table restaurants which support local farms are getting severely undermined.
Sadly, many of these closures could have been prevented. Most of this is happening due to the federal government literally killing these restaurants with “kindness.” Too much money is flooding those who are unemployed. On average unemployed people today are earning $17 per hour. If this is more or close to the amount they can earn by working, then why work?
Utah Stories visited Moab, Utah, and found that more young people than ever are living the “van life”. Glamorized by suntanned and fit Instagrammers and Youtubers, the Van life offers the promise of enjoying life to a much greater extent without the bother of working a regular job, or having rent or mortgage payments to make. Are these young people enjoying camping under the stars enjoying our Canyonlands and Arches National Parks while bankrupting the country and forcing small business closures?
It’s clear while the economy is heating up there is still a massive number of unfilled jobs throughout the country. 7 million unfilled jobs in fact.
There seems to be a pervasive sentiment in America today that it’s better to get all the free stuff possible from the government, rather than suffer the daily grind of a regular 9-5 job. Also, several young people Utah Stories has spoken to in the past have told us they would rather be homeless than work at a place like Walmart or McDonalds. They can certainly now earn more by being homeless or living in a van.
This will continue to make it increasingly difficult for the small, locally-owned restaurants in Utah and across the country to survive.
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