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Diners Are Going Out Earlier
Americans are going out to eat earlier than they did pre-pandemic. This is primarily due to hybrid work schedules.
According to new data from Resy, Americans are making earlier dinner reservations. Compared to 2019, the share of 5 p.m. reservations has increased by over +2 percentage points to 15%. And the share of 6 p.m. reservations has increased by around +1 pp to 19%. In contrast, 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. reservations have both declined by -2 pp.
Nationwide Yelp data show a similar trend. Restaurants are currently serving 10% of their customers between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. That’s a +5% rise from 2019.
So what’s behind this shift in eating times? The primary driver is hybrid work. Employees now have more flexible schedules and can often log off early to grab a bite or beat rush hour traffic. Moreover, remote workers may be eager to go out right after work since they have been home all day. Nightlife late at night in major US cities simply isn’t what it used to be.
Telework will undoubtedly affect dining times for the foreseeable future. Remote work is now a mainstay: According to Kastle System’s Workplace Occupancy Barometer, office buildings in the ten largest US cities were only 49.8% full for the week of 10/11.
Did You Know?
DoorDash Targets Gamers. Since the pandemic lockdowns ended, food delivery companies have struggled to grow their consumer base. But DoorDash (DASH) has its eye on a new set of customers who are often glued to their couches: hardcore gamers. Over the last two years, the company has sponsored competitions between famous streamers, advertised at gaming conventions, and adopted the catchphrase “Stay in Your Game.” Now its strategy seems to be working. Between April and June of this year, 12M gamers who played for an hour or more daily ordered from the app. That’s double the number who ordered in the first three months of 2021. Gamers are now 70% more likely to order from the app than normal customers. Luckily for DoorDash, gamers are one group that keeps growing. (See “Homelanders Favor Video Games.”)
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