Restaurant Industry June 16th

Restaurant Reservations

Sine the June 9th report, reservations have again increased nationally and statewide. Nationally reservations jumped from -74%YoY to -64%YoY; statewide reservations tell a similar story: -72%YoY to -54%YoY. On June 14th, the date of the most recent information as of the time writing this report, these numbers dropped from their peaks to -78%YoY. While this blip may just be an outlier in the data, these reports will continue to monitor the numbers and the news in the coming week. According to new data from opentable.com, nearly 60% of restaurants in Georgia that take reservations have reopened. Expect to see these numbers climb in the next week in response to GA governor Kemp loosening restrictions on restaurants

Casual Dining and Fast Food

Casual dining continues its upward trend, with foot traffic climbing nearly 4% since the last report.  The linear trend has remained nearly the same; extrapolating data reports a return to normal within 51 days.

Last week, fast food chains served more customers than they were the previous year. These chains remain unaffected by the pandemic and will likely continue to be strong competitors in the market.

Restaurant Restrictions Loosened in Georgia

Gov. Kemp signed an order June 11th effective June 16th that loosened restrictions on bars and restaurants in Georgia. There will no longer be a limit to the party size of people sitting together, and there is no longer a limit on the number of patrons allowed in the restaurant. Food-service employees will only be required to wear a mask when interacting with customers, instead of always. Salad bars and buffets can be used again, either by letting an employee serve a customer, or by self-serve if the proper health precautions are taken. Bars also had their capacity increased from 25 people to 50, or 35% capacity, whichever is greater.

In the News

Kemp’s latest order draws mixed reactions among restaurant owners

By Ligaya Figueras, Henri Hollis, and Yvonne Zusel @ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“There was no mandate to go back to work. He gave us all freedom to choose to open our businesses using very good guidelines,” said McKerrow, founder of LongHorn Steakhouse, co-founder and CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill, and a partner at fine dining restaurants Aria and Canoe. “If a business isn’t comfortable, you don’t have to open at 100% capacity. You can stay at 50%.”

Other operators were not as enthusiastic as McKerrow about Kemp’s latest order.

“It’s way too soon to ease restrictions that loosely,” said Steven Satterfield of Miller Union. “It doesn’t seem like the right move for human health and safety.” Satterfield noted that he was on an email chain with dozens of other local restaurateurs who are reacting to the news. “All of them are like, ‘What the hell is happening?’ No one I know is excited.”

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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