OpenTable has collected the numbers that provide a snapshot of the restaurant industry. Their dataset is based on online reservations, walk-ins, and phone calls from 20,000 eating establishments. They compared the same day during the same week for 2019 and the 2020 lockdown.
I’ve drawn the arrow for May 10, 2020. The drop is mind-boggling:
However, one restaurant has a solution.
The Quarantine Greenhouse
At a restaurant in Amsterdam, social distancing is rather easy. Diners isolate themselves using a “quarantine greenhouse.” Meals are served by waiters wearing gloves and face shields. Carrying long boards, they can deliver the food without coming close to a table.
A quarantine greenhouse:
The restaurant’s website indicates they are completely sold out:
The Restaurant Industry
The decline in the restaurant industry started with Chinese restaurants. Although the Chinese New Year had begun, Yelp reported that searches for Chinese restaurants decreased in Chicago and Manhattan. But then, reservations began to plunge everywhere. One reservation website even recommended that restaurants overbook to offset the cancellation avalanche.
The Chinese cuisine upswing in mid-March was because of a surge in take-out:
Perhaps though, we best displayed our expectations through Google Search. The need to freeze surged when we realized we would be eating at home for a long time:
Our Bottom Line: Underutilization
We can display the impact of a coronavirus lockdown through a production possibilities graph. Economists use a production possibilities graph to show the maximum amount the factors of production can produce. A dot on the graph shows current production while the curve shows the potential. The dot that is drawn below is located inside the curve because of massive underutilization.
The dot represents the lockdown. It also reflects the restaurant industry’s massive underutilization of land, labor, and capital:
The one exception was the Amsterdam eatery with the greenhouse quarantine.
My sources and more: Thanks to Marginal Revolution for alerting me to the new kind of restaurant. From there, eater.com, here and here, and OpenTable had the facts.
Our featured image is from CNN.