- In both August and September, 6,600 new restaurants and food businesses opened, which is closer to 2019 and 2018 volumes, according to the Yelp Economic Average report released Thursday. New restaurant openings in Q3 2020 were down 10% compared to the year-ago quarter.
- During the third quarter, over 210,000 businesses that temporarily closed have reopened, with a large increase of reopenings in September.
- This latest report offers a ray of hope for restaurants, especially since Yelp's Q2 report showed that nearly 16,000 businesses closed for good. A summer surge in outdoor dining has helped bring many restaurants back. During the third quarter, the amount of Yelp restaurant reviews with outdoor dining doubled compared to the year-ago quarter, per the Yelp Economic Average report. Searches for outdoor seating were also up five times during the quarter compared to last year.
Several cities have moved toward supporting restaurants and retailers to maintain outdoor setups into the winter. New York City, for example, made its Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs permanent, with plans to add more businesses and streets to the programs. Chicago and Washington, D.C., are also providing grants and assistance to businesses to help them get through the winter months.
In August and September, 2 million jobs were added in retail trade and leisure and hospitality industries, but winter could erase these gains with estimated job losses as high as 2.8 million, according to Gusto. States with the biggest increases in reopenings were New Hampshire (78%), Ohio (40%), Kentucky (38%), South Dakota (31%) and Delaware (31%), according to Yelp, but many of these states, namely Ohio, New Hampshire and South Dakota could lose out as Gusto predicts states from New England to the Pacific Northwest could be hit harder economically during winter.
But even as restaurants are impacted by winter weather, off-premise demand continues to be strong. During Q2, restaurants quickly adapted to meet consumer demands with Yelp reviews mentioning contactless up 7,839% year-over-year, curbside mentions up 6,405%, takeout up 475%, pickup up 261% and delivery up 164%. Mentions for takeout, delivery and pickup did decline during the third quarter, but were still above pre-pandemic levels, according to Yelp.
While 41% of consumers said they dined indoors and 38% said they dined outdoors, 63% said they have ordered takeout, 48% have ordered curbside pickup and 45% have gotten delivery, according to an August Technomic survey. This suggests that as consumers become more comfortable ordering off-premise that businesses will continue to be able to rely on these channels even into the winter months, when consumers are less likely to go out.