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OpenTable begins gathering data on how restaurant traffic is being affected by COVID-19.

Restaurant traffic is down 48% during coronavirus crisis, according to OpenTable

OpenTable data shows restaurant reservations and walk-ins take a nosedive systemwide during the COVID-19 situation

Although the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the hospitality industry is not yet known, restaurants are already reporting the real-time effects the crisis is having on their day-to-day traffic. According to OpenTable’s latest data, traffic was down 48% nationwide on Sun. March 15 in the United States on a year-over-year basis, including online reservations, phone reservations and walk-ins.

“Reservations stayed stable in February with a big increase on Valentine’s Day, but March brought new health and safety concerns around the world,” OpenTable COO Andrea Johnston said in a statement. “Looking at comprehensive data from restaurants on our platform — across online reservations, phone reservations and walk-ins — we note sharp declines over the last week.”

The dataset takes into account all seated diners from OpenTable restaurants across all channels, and only includes data from states and cities with at least 50 restaurants in the OpenTable database. OpenTable has released comparison data for traffic every day starting on February 18th.

In comparison, restaurant traffic data a week prior (Sun., March 8) was only down 5%, just a week after the first death related to coronavirus was recorded in the United States. Over the past week when traffic numbers worsened from a 5% drop to a 48% decrease, President Trump set more stringent travel restrictions and declared a national emergency on Fri., March 13.    

According to OpenTable estimates, as of March 15, the worst-hit states include:

  • California (restaurant traffic is down 55% as compared with 2019)
  • Connecticut (57%)
  • Kansas (55%)
  • Kentucky (55%)
  • Maryland (67%)
  • New Jersey (56%)
  • North Carolina (63%)
  • Oregon (55%)
  • Pennsylvania (56%)
  • Washington (57%)
  • Washington, D.C. (55%)

The worst hit cities include:

  • Los Angeles, Calif. (57%)
  • San Francisco, Calif. (72%)
  • Louisville, Ken. (57%)
  • Boston, Mass. (70%)
  • New York, NY (69%)
  • Raleigh, NC (55%)
  • Seattle, Wash. (62%)

This data reflects that information is preliminary right now, and traffic numbers are likely to dwindle even further (in many cases down to zero) as state and city ordinances ordering restaurants and bars to close go into effect. For example, New York City mandated all restaurant and bars to close starting at 9 a.m. on Tues., March 17 and Los Angeles did the same starting Mon. March 16 at midnight through March 31, joining the growing list of cities and states that have mandated severe restrictions or closures on restaurant operations. These mandates are not yet represented in the OpenTable data.

OpenTable will continue to update its daily restaurant performance dataset every day for the foreseeable future.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

TAGS: Operations
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