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Restaurants are banking on the return to the office

Several brands, from Shake Shack to Tim Hortons to Potbelly, noted strong sales and traffic recoveries in their urban locations during Q3 earnings calls.


Welcome to First Bite, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, your daily source of news from NRN hosted by Holly Petre.

Today, we’re talking about how restaurants are returning to urban markets.

Urban markets have long been an important lifeline for restaurants because they generate a consistent traffic flow, particularly during the critical lunch and dinner dayparts. Further, they tend to complement other urban businesses, creating a compelling destination for economic activity.

Of course, that activity went away in 2020 and then stalled again in 2021 with the delta and omicron variants. But now a comeback seems to be underway, and restaurants with a strong urban presence are experiencing some momentum accordingly. Consider Shake Shack, for instance, which calls New York City its hometown. The city’s office occupancy rates increased by more than 10% in September – the highest point since the pandemic began – and that trend has played a major role in the chain’s continued recovery.

Hear more about the urban revitalization from Alicia Kelso.


Plus, catch up on all the top news of the day with our daily news recap at the beginning of each episode.

Be sure to subscribe to First Bite wherever you get your podcasts or on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts.

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