Maui Business

Hawai‘i Tourism Now: Greg Maples On the Future of Hawai’i’s Restaurant Industry

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Greg Maples, the incoming chairman of Hawaii Restaurant Association sits down with Patty Lee, operations manager for Hawai’i Airport Advertising and on-camera host for Pacific Media Group to discuss the future of Hawai’i’s restaurant Industry.

Maples described that the restaurant industry is in a state of terrible distress.

“There’s never been a time in the history of restaurants that it’s been this bad. Overall, sales are down 60-70% – some are more, some are less. Of course, that’s for restaurants that are open. Most have let go of 80-90% of their employees. They can’t pay their rent or other obligations and we know that Hawaii restaurant owners and operators are among the hardest hit in the U.S.,” Maples said.

Despite the travel restrictions that have severely affected the restaurant industry, Maples is grateful for Governor Ige’s decision to make Hawai’i one of the safest U.S. states during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While it was painful to have that happen, it definitely made the difference,” Maples said of the 14-day travel quarantine. “We might have the hardest hit economy, we also have one of the safest states…our numbers are incredible.”


Maples sees a long road towards regaining the level of visitors Hawai’i used to welcome and supported the possibility of rebranding the state as the “safest destination for travel.”


“As we declare ourselves as the safest place, I think more people will come. The foreign borders are gonna take a while to open…You got New York and New Jersey and Louisiana and California that are still having a hard time. Why not come to the best place on Earth and come to the safest place on Earth?”

The Hawaii Restaurant Association recently provided reopening guidance for restaurant owners and operators.

To learn about how many restaurants will never reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and additional information from the Hawaii Restaurant Association, watch the interview above.

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