The prediction follows tumultuous circumstances for restaurants since the pandemic uprooted business in March. Restaurants saw $30 billion in losses that month, followed by $50 billion in April when the entire country was shut down for the whole month.
OpenTable, which provides reservation services for near 60,000 restaurants across the country, published a survey on the greatest losses by states and cities on restaurant reservation losses. It found Kentucky at the top of the pack with a 99 percent reduction, followed by Missouri and Nevada with 97 and 96 percent, respectively.
In terms of cities, Las Vegas saw a 96 percent reduction in reservations, while Nashville saw 95 percent and Atlanta 92 percent, the survey states.
On OpenTable’s own network, reservations and walk-ins were down 95 percent on May 13 from where they were a year prior.
Restaurants in a post-pandemic world will have to adjust to the needs of people who need to pick up food or have it delivered, rather than eat out and risk infection.
Those that do offer dine-in services will face a number of hurdles to keep everyone safe. Servers will have to wear masks, and customers will likely be prudent to do so. Temperature checks may be in place at the doors. Bar seating will be out for the time being, and disposable plastic silverware may be the order of the day to prevent too much contact.
States are beginning to reopen now, with some activity signaling that a percentage of people may be open to dining out even amid lingering social distancing concerns. But that number is far from enough to get activity back up to where it was beforehand.
OpenTable CEO Steve Hafner called restaurants “complicated beasts” that are hard to navigate successfully during a pandemic.
“You have to order food and supplies,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “You have to make sure you’ve prepped the kitchen and service areas to be easily disinfected.”