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COVID-19 Causes 100% Decline in Seated Diners in Restaurant Industry

Source: OpenTable

Last updated on Wed., March 25,10:09 a.m.

The restaurant industry is in freefall as the calamitous economic impact of the novel coronavirus continues to be felt. According to a new OpenTable report surveying seven countries, restaurants are seeing a 100% decline in seated diners, including online and phone reservations and walk-ins. 

The report includes results from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia. Restaurants in all countries have seen a full decline in seated diners, save for Mexico, which is currently reporting a 96% decline. 

The sharp and sudden decline has already hit jobs in the hospitality sector, with thousands already lost. Restaurants are increasingly turning to their communities for support to stay afloat. OpenTable is providing multiple avenues to support struggling restaurants, like buying a gift card to use in the future or ordering take-out and delivery. Conversely, while dining restaurants suffer, grocery store app downloads, like Instacart and Walmart Grocery, have skyrocketed.

Public Trust in US Corporations Increased During the COVID-19 Crisis

Source: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

The American public has been responding favorably toward corporations since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. According to a new Axios/Harris poll, 75% of respondents believe that companies were more reliable than the federal government during the lockdown. 

The health and grocery industries saw the highest approval rating among consumers — at 47% and 35% respectively — while both the media (-5%) and airlines (-7%) industries scored the lowest. Respondents rated the top 100 companies across seven qualities: affinity and trust, citizenship, ethics, culture, vision, growth and products and services. The poll weighted affinity as the highest compared to all other categories. 

Companies that focused on using their resources and platform to solve problems related to COVID-19, like pharmacies, streaming services and packaged goods, gained the most trust from consumers. The results also showed that consumers have higher trust in companies that address societal issues. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, this will most likely be a long-term trend beyond the pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing in the US Compared to Other Countries

Source: John Hopkins University of Medicine

Despite conducting the second-highest percentage of daily tests, the United States still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases of any country in the world. The size of the circles in the graph above display how large the epidemic is in each location — ideally countries should have small circles and a low percentage of positive tests. 

Research by Johns Hopkins recently found that the amount of COVID-19 testing needs to be based on the size of a country’s epidemic rather than the size of its population. Johns Hopkins recommended that governments should look at the country’s COVID-19 positivity rate to determine if they are testing enough. A poll conducted at the end of July by NPR/Ipsos shows that the majority of the American public believes that the U.S. is handling the crisis worse than any other country and want the federal government to take extreme actions to slow the spread. Testing will continue to ramp up as the U.S. debates whether to open schools and lift further restrictions.

Where Are Businesses Closing in the US?

Source: Yelp

The number of total business closures in the United States dropped in July 2020 — but the figure remains high, with more than 132,500 closures so far this year. Of that amount, 15,742 businesses permanently closed since mid-June. Data from Yelp shows that the restaurant industry had the highest number of closures in July, surpassing the retail industry. 

Most of these closures are occurring in large cities — Los Angeles and New York City had the largest amounts of business closures. Similarly, large U.S. states such as California (29,351 closed businesses), Texas (11,118 closed businesses) and New York (8,731 closed businesses) all experienced a large number of closures since the start of the pandemic. Many of these cities and states have been major hot spots during the pandemic.

As businesses start to reopen, and consumers test their comfort levels, recreational activity is expected to grow and help bounce back struggling industries. However, cases continue to rise in certain parts of the U.S., causing consumer interest and business closures to continue to move at an unpredictable pace.

Support for Black-Owned Businesses Surges in 2020

Source: Yelp

Yelp recorded a 7,043% increase in searches for Black-owned businesses this year. There were more than 2,500,000 searches for the term “Black-owned” from May 25 to July 10, 2020, compared to approximately 35,000 searches during the same time period in 2019, according to an analysis by Yelp

A variety of industries are experiencing this surge in consumer interest in Black-owned businesses, but restaurants and bookstores have seen the highest uptick in searches on Yelp at an increase of 2,508% and 1,437%, respectively. This interest is largely due to the Black Lives Matter protests, which continue to erupt across the United States.

The movement has sparked a global conversation and prompted many to participate in #BlackOutDay, which encouraged consumers to shop exclusively at Black-owned stores. Most consumers say they want to see organizations speak out against racial injustice and use their resources to support the Black community.

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