As many as one in four US restaurants may not be able to reopen once the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased, according to an OpenTable report.
As reported by Bloomberg, the on-trade sector has been hit so hard by the pandemic that a quarter of restaurants in America may go out of business. The bleak prediction by OpenTable highlights the scale of the impact the shutdown has had on the hospitality industry.
The number of reservations and walk-in customers from OpenTable’s network were down by 95% on 13 May compared to the same day a year ago, excluding deliveries and takeaway services.
Offering a glimmer of hope for the industry, Open Table found that diners are starting to eat out again in Arizona, Texas and Florida, where the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, with Florida showing the highest number of diners returning to restaurants.
Restaurants in Indiana and Tennessee are currently allowed to operate at 50% capacity, though some restaurants have chosen not to reopen using this model. The data comes from analysis of 60,000 restaurants across the United States.
The National Restaurant Association reported that the US on-trade lost $30 billion in March and $50 billion in April. Last year the hospitality industry employed 9.6 million people in the US.
“Restaurants are complicated beasts. You have to order food and supplies. You have to make sure you’ve prepped the kitchen and service areas to be easily disinfected,” Steve Hafner, chief executive of OpenTable told Bloomberg.
To help the industry, OpenTable has waived fees and subscription costs for the restaurants on its platform and has opened up use of the site to bars and wineries that need to comply with capacity controls and social distancing rules.