Skip to main content

60% of US Restaurant Closings Since March Are Now Permanent, Yelp Says

coffee shop closed

Exactly 60% of restaurant closings in the United States since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have become permanent, according to a troubling new report from Yelp.

Say what you will about Yelp — gosh knows they let strangers say whatever they please about coffee shops — but the company has a lot of data.

Lately that data has been put to use in analyzing consumer and business behavior during the most tumultuous time in the modern era for coffee shops, restaurants, and other food-and-beverage purveyors.

Yelp recently released its latest quarterly Economic Average report, offering a snapshot of the current disruption in the restaurant industry in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while potentially signaling some long-term trends for the sector.

(For the purposes of this report, cafes, coffee shops, mobile coffee bars and all other coffee-focused retailers are being lumped into the broader “restaurants” category.)

Visits to Restaurants Lead to Upticks in COVID-19 Cases

First off, the Yelp data shows a strong correlation between increased visits to restaurants, bars and gyms in May with increased total COVID-19 cases.

According to Yelp, among states with at least three total cases per 1,000 people, the 10 with the largest increase in COVID-19 cases in June saw at least a 50% increase in consumer interest in those activities in May relative to shutdown levels in late March and early April. The correlation was most apparent in Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia.

Conversely, the 10 states with the largest decreases in COVID-19 cases in June — including Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut — saw relatively flat consumer interest in visits to restaurants and bars between late March and May.

Because the United States federal government and various states have been so fantastically inept in containing the virus — and thereby protecting coffee shops, restaurants and other local businesses that provide the country with its economic backbone and cultural heartbeat — Yelp spells it out quite clearly:

As outbreaks worsened through late June, consumer interest in these categories started to come back down in states like Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Arizona. This emphasizes the strong correlation between the pandemic and consumer behavior. When there’s a major outbreak, Yelp data suggests it negatively impacts consumer interest in businesses where social distancing may be harder to enforce. If COVID-19 cases remain flat or decrease in a state, consumer behavior and local policies tend to revert towards the pre-pandemic norm, leaving the state vulnerable to a major outbreak in the near future. These outbreaks may then require stricter measures to suppress cases, as we are currently seeing in California and Florida.

More Restaurants Permanently Closing

The number of temporary and permanent restaurant closings since March 1 in the restaurant sector (26,160) has surpassed that of the “shopping and retail” sector (26,119), according to Yelp.

Meanwhile, the share of permanently closed restaurants continues to increase, compared to those restaurants that are identifying as being temporarily closed. Of all the closed restaurants in July, 60% (15,770) have permanently closed.

The Yelp data also show that restaurant closings locally tend to follow upticks in COVID-19 cases. In places such as Texas and Florida, this cycle is repeating itself.

Support for Black-Owned Coffee Shops

Consumer interest in supporting Black-owned businesses of all kinds is higher than ever, following a 7,043% increase in searches for Black-owned businesses from May 25 to July 10.

Searches for Black-owned coffee shops have increased by 183% compared to the same period last year.

Comment

2 Comments

Fred

So it’s the “fantastically inept” US and state government’s fault that a virus spread? Does anyone really think any government can contain a germ? Srsly??

The common cold is a corona virus too. Does the author blame the government everytime someone catches a cold? How about the flu?

Gimme a freakin break!

The government needs to shoulder blame for two things and two things only: 1) certain cities and states forced nursing homes to take in covid 19 infected patients. Those bureaucrats are murderers and should be prosecuted accordingly. 2) It was clear very early in the curve who was vulnerable and who had next to nothing to worry about. We should have protected the vulnerable to the best of our ability and let the rest of the country go about it’s business. THAT’S how we could have protected coffee shops, not to mention the rest of the economy!

That’s plenty of blame, and it’s completely valid. But jeez, man, don’t suggest governments can stop germs. This is the real world, and it would clearly contribute more to public safety if we could stop the spread of government.

We should blame the folks who made the bad calls. So, I await your editorial calling for the defunding of CDC and WHO…

Fred is an Imbecile

Fred, the U.S. Federal Government has thus far sickened millions and killed over 160,000 American citizens with its missteps: inaction, denial, politicization of public health guidance, and downright magical thinking enabled by imbeciles like you. Take a look at the list of countries where the virus is most out of control: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. See anything in common with the top 10 or so? All populist autocrats/dictators who blame others for their failure while congratulating themselves at the expense of commoners they ostensibly champion. Functional government has a purpose, which the lack of competence here demonstrates. It didn’t need to be this way — other countries (Germany, Vietnam, New Zealand, etc.) have experienced far less destruction to lives and economies with simple and known practices competently executed: 1) acceptance of reality based on data, 2) population movement restrictions, 3) organized national testing, and 4) requiring citizens to wear a face mask. This is your fault, Fred.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *