The American restaurant business continues to be in poor health, and the prognosis isn’t good. Celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck, David Chang, José Andrés, Daniel Boulud, and Charlie Palmer have all found it necessary to shutter restaurants in recent months. Chain operators are suffering, too, some of them even filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — among these Chuck E. Cheese, the U.S. branch of Le Pain Quotidien, and Sustainable Restaurant Holdings (Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish).
Many restaurants that shut down in March or April, either voluntarily or responding to state or local governmental directives, expected to be able to reopen at least partially within a few months. Many did — but then found themselves forced to close again as COVID-19 cases spiked in their areas. For some, this was the last straw. Seeing no way to break even, much less return to profitability, many of them have simply given up.
According to a late June update of Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report, some 139,339 eating places that were listed as open on the review site on March 1 had closed by June 15 — and 41% of those, more than 57,000 establishments in all, have announced that they will not be reopening.
The combination of enforced shutdowns and consumer reluctance, in some quarters at least, to go out and about in social settings — even distanced ones — is lethal to many places, however. Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the end of the carnage.
24/7 Tempo continues to track permanent restaurant closings around the country. Scouring scores of restaurant reviews and local news sites around the nation, we’ve assembled an updated report based on our most recent list, published just two weeks ago, of 50 popular restaurants that won’t reopen after the pandemic.
The report covers 24 states plus the nation’s capital, and establishments ranging from local comfort-food favorites to French bistros to one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans. In the face of this devastating health emergency, it’s obvious that no category of restaurant is immune.
In addition to restaurants, bars are suffering, too. There have been fewer reports of permanent closures, perhaps because drinking establishments tend to have lower overhead than full-scale restaurants. And just like restaurants, bars won’t be the same when they are eventually allowed to reopen — here’s how bars will be different after the coronavirus.