Hello — Andrea Johnston here, chief operating officer of OpenTable.
I wanted to personally reach out about the current situation. The COVID-19 pandemic is making many of us stay home and our community of nearly 60,000 restaurants is facing a severe reduction in diners.
Reservations stayed stable in February with a big increase on Valentine’s Day. But March brought new health and safety concerns around the world. 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. We’ve summarized this data below, as well as in a report of more detailed industry trends. We expect to refresh data periodically:
- In the United States and United Kingdom, we see a 20 percent reduction in total seated diners vs. last year. (All declines cited here are on a year-over-year basis.)
- Mexico and Canada are down 15 to 17 percent.
- Things seem to be getting worse quickly, though. Yesterday, the U.S., UK, and Canada all declined by around 30 percent.
- At the city level, diners are down approximately 45 percent in Seattle, 40 percent in San Francisco, 30 percent in New York, and 25 percent in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Please support your local restaurants during this turbulent time, as they are a vital part of our communities. Many operate on thin margins and fear staff layoffs and shut downs. Home delivery through the OpenTable app is a good alternative to dining out. Another option is to buy restaurant gift cards for future use.
Restaurants are already required to operate under the strictest health codes and are monitored at the local level — but we are seeing many of them go above and beyond. They are taking swift action to protect diners, such as by distancing tables and dedicating staffers to full-time sanitizing.
To help our partners we’ve prepared guidance on how restaurants can handle downturns in business. We’re working with restaurant associations in their discussions for government relief. Finally, we will soon share daily information on dining trends via a public website until this crisis passes. We are all in this together.
I hope all of you stay safe and healthy. Thank you — Andrea
John: I concur, think about calling in a takeout order from your favorite restaurant. If you think they don’t do takeout, guess what, they may be willing to do it now.