Billionaire restaurateur and casino operator Tilman Fertitta told CNBC on Tuesday that he expects strong consumer spending to fuel the U.S. economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The consumer is coming back. I'll tell you where we can do business, we do business," said the chairman and CEO of Landry to "Power Lunch".
"This will be the 'Roaring Twenties'. You can just see it," added Fertitta, referring to the period of economic expansion that took place in the 1920s after World War I and the 1918 pandemic flu .
Consumer spending now accounts for more than two thirds of the country's economic activity. The US economy has been hit by the Covid crisis, particularly industries such as hospitality and travel. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and businesses closed.
Fertitta, whose Houston-based restaurant empire spans more than 600 locations worldwide, said it would welcome additional coronavirus stimuli from Washington. President Joe Biden has unveiled a $ 1.9 trillion relief plan that includes additional direct payments to most Americans on top of the $ 600 checks included in the December legislation.
"We're putting all of this new stimulus money out there, and who's going to help? Believe it or not, it's helping my casinos and me," said Fertitta, who also owns the Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel brand and the NBA's Houston Rockets . "I make a living from the consumer. If Joe Biden wants to give all of this incentive, it will go on. We'll take it."
Frances Allen, CEO of Checkers & Rally, told CNBC on Monday that the fast food chain was seeing an increase in sales tied to stimulus checks, although she warned it would not last long. "It's only for a week, a maximum of three," she said on The Exchange.
For the restaurant industry as a whole, Fertitta stated that companies that manage to survive have learned valuable lessons on how to become more profitable. On Tuesday, he advocated a bittersweet outlook for the hardest hit sector.
"It's really sad because there will be great opportunities, and companies like mine that know how to maneuver in these times will survive and be well capitalized to take advantage of those opportunities," said Fertitta, who is considering some of them to leverage its restaurant and gaming business audience.
“It's a shame it happened because I don't think it had to happen. I think we should have done a better job as Americans making sure no business went out of business because of this pandemic. We did not done." as a country. "