If pictures tell a story, the one below is not a pretty one for restaurants:
The chart, which I created using data from OpenTable, shows the percentage difference year over year on each day for diners from February 18th all the way through yesterday, March 13th. OpenTable has data available for each state (you can check your own state here), but for this chart I included those areas most impacted by Coronavirus as well as Florida, which seems to be emerging as a hotspot. I’ve also included the data for the total of the United States.
What does it show? That restaurant traffic went from what looked like decent growth in places like Washington state just a month ago to simply dropping off a cliff. Data for yesterday, March 13th, showed Washington state restaurant traffic was down by 53%. New York, also grappling with an outbreak, traffic was down 54%.
While traffic hadn’t dropped to the same extent in California or Florida, it’s trending that way, and the United States as a whole has seen traffic drop by 36%.
What’s struck me is the velocity of the decline. Last week total US traffic at restaurants was down 8% compared to the previous year. Just a week later, the drop was over four times that.
Looking beyond the US, the picture doesn’t get any better. Below is a chart showing how coronavirus is hitting countries like Mexico, Germany and Ireland.
Interestingly, Ireland’s restaurant industry saw the biggest overall drop this past week, with its restaurant traffic down by 54% as of yesterday, compared with just 13% a week prior.
COVID-19’s impact on the restaurant industry is expected to only get worse in coming days. We’ve seen some of the industry’s biggest and most successful names already grappling with this change and having to furlough or lay people off. Because of this, we’re looking to highlight some of those companies stepping up to help. If your company is offering resources or discounts to help restaurants impacted by coronavirus, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.