Short of being directed by their respective state, provincial, civic and federal governments to close restaurants or alter floor operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the very latest OpenTable restaurant performance data shows the public is taking the concept of ‘social distancing’ to heart. The screenshot above was clipped from their client Data Centre this morning. Vancouver eateries were hard hit over the weekend with a drop of around 35%, whole restaurants in other Canadian cities, such as Toronto (50%), fared much worse.
Here’s a note to clients from Andrea Johnston, 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.
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, this daily restaurant performance data here (and soon 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