There were 557 restaurant businesses operating coast wide before Hurricane Katrina - including casinos. These were independent and franchise businesses. Some were convenience stores or service stations that served fast food like Subway or Arby's.
Of those 557, we lost 350 eating establishments after Katrina. Within three months, 10 percent of the 350 were reopening in limited operations, some out of trailers and tents. Menu items were limited, and managers dealt with shortages and experienced staff. But they still opened their doors so people had to eat somewhere.
Catering companies were the backbone in feeding the large number of volunteers and workers. The utility companies alone needed to feed 1,000 people on a daily basis while rebuilding our coast.
Approximately 65 percent of the 350 restaurants have reopened. Many independent restaurateurs have opened new restaurants to help fill the need, but the franchise industry is slow to rebuild those restaurants lost in Katrina.