The restaurant business just can’t seem to catch a break. First it was pretty much shut down completely around the country, with only takeout and delivery services permitted — which proved impractical for many places. Then things started looking up a bit, as various jurisdictions began to allow first outdoor dining and then limited seating indoors.
But social distancing strictures and the lingering understandable reluctance of potential customers to dine out in these uncertain times have kept revenues low. And now, as new infections spike in some parts of the country, establishments that had only just reopened are being told to close again.
It seems likely that restaurants have suffered more significant job and sales declines in recent months than any other industry in America, according to a COVID-19 impact survey published by the National Restaurant Association.
It has become increasingly apparent in the past month or so that many restaurants that expected to be dark for a month or two at most are now realizing that they’ll likely never be able to get back to normal. Yelp recently revealed that some 23,981 of the eating places listed on its site have closed at least temporarily since March 1, and that of that number, an astonishing 53% have shut down permanently.
And it’s not just in America: Aaron Allen, founder of the consulting firm Aaron Allen & Associates, recently estimated to Bloomberg Law that up to 10% of all restaurants globally will vanish for good, with another 20% or more being forced to restructure.
COVID-19 isn’t the only reason restaurants close, of course. Sometimes, well-loved eating places just can’t make the numbers work, or they lose their leases, or confront other implacable challenges. The coronavirus obviously had nothing to do, for instance, with the saddest restaurant closings of 2019.
But seeing the demise, through no fault of their own, of places that might otherwise have been successful seems particularly tragic. The list of restaurants in America that have closed permanently in recent months includes everything from mass-market chain units to neighborhood favorites to upscale restaurants run by celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, David Chang, and José Andrés.
24/7 Tempo has been tracking permanent restaurant closings around the country. Most recently, following up earlier coverage, we’ve published an updated list of 30 more popular restaurants that won’t reopen after the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the carnage shows no signs of stopping, so we have now assembled this completely new list of 50 popular restaurants, covering 24 states plus Washington, D.C. As we approach the seventh month of coronavirus shutdowns, the list will undoubtedly keep on growing.