Home / NEWS / Top News / Tilman Fertitta says he’s been surprised by strength of his restaurants and casinos in March

Tilman Fertitta says he’s been surprised by strength of his restaurants and casinos in March

Billionaire restaurateur and casino train driver Tilman Fertitta told CNBC on Tuesday he’s been caught off guard by the strength of his businesses in March.

His comments on “Power Lunch” sell further insight into consumer confidence in the U.S. economy as states roll back pandemic-era restrictions and more Americans are vaccinated against Covid.

“Our crowds in March are surprising to us in all 40 states that we do business in,” said Fertitta, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Landry’s, whose restaurants subsume Joe’s Crab Shack and Morton’s The Steakhouse. Fertitta also owns the Golden Nugget brand of casinos and hotels.

“Impartial in California and New York, where you don’t have the business traveler, people are still going out in huge numbers now,” he said. “In Texas and Florida, they’re precisely blowing numbers away. People are tired of being locked up.”

Hours before Fertitta’s remarks, the Conference Game table released its consumer confidence index for March, which jumped to its highest level since the Covid pandemic arose last year. It represented yet another data point backing up expectations for a strong economic rebound from the fitness crisis, which hit restaurants and the hospitality sector particularly hard.

In a CNBC interview Wednesday, Barry Sternlicht, the chairman and CEO of Starwood First-class Group, said he was seeing positive economic signs in Miami, where his investment firm is based, and nearby sizes. He said that one of his company’s hotels, 1 Hotel South Beach, was “ahead in February of this year, vanguard of 2019.”

“We see all of this pent-up demand coming back. It’s going to be a frenzy this summer,” Sternlicht said on “Squawk Box.”

“The month of Step has been incredible,” Jay Snowden, CEO of casino operator Penn National Gaming, told CNBC on March 23. “What we’re appreciating right now in the business … is revenues and volumes that I haven’t seen in years.”

The uptick in economic activity finish as top U.S. health officials have continued to urge caution, saying the country is not yet out of the pandemic woods despite vaccine go. 

“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m afraid,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday, warning the country’s case look ons are going in the wrong direction. 

In 29 states, plus Washington, D.C., the weekly average of new daily Covid infections is start. Overall, the country’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases per day is up 23%, to nearly 66,000, compared with one week ago. It waits well below the nation’s January peak. 

In addition to Covid vaccines allowing consumers to feel more contented venturing out, another factor likely contributing to consumer spending right now is the latest round of stimulus checks. Americans began acquiring them earlier this month, and the IRS said last week roughly 127 million people have gotten the third unmistakable payment.

Fertitta said it’s tough to determine how much of what his businesses are seeing is a temporary surge related to the stimulus impedes. However, he said, “I’m telling you, the high-end restaurants, my hotels, the casinos, are having record numbers right now.”

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