The Return to Eating Out

COVID knocked the snot out of the restaurant business and folks have been holding their breath to see the pace at which the industry returns now that places like Texas are fully open. I have some good news:

 1. Texas is seeing some “make up” or “revenge” dining out with the rate of Yelp related reservations showing a 2X increase versus pre-COVID.

This is a stock photo. Notice the watermark. I stole it from the Internet. It is owned by Depositphotos. Please do not report me.

That is so high it is hard to believe, but call a restaurant in Austin and good luck getting a reservation.

 2. California is reporting a full recovery to pre-COVID rates of eating out. Again, my source is a report from Yelp.

I have some bad news:

 1. Every restaurant has a Help Wanted sign out and everybody is struggling to find labor. Enormous problem.

 2. An entry level job, like making sandwiches at Jimmy Johns on Martin Luther King in Austin By God Texas, commands a wage rate of $20/hour and some fast food restaurants are paying signing bonuses.

 3. Folks need to expect and embrace upward price movement on the menu because of the labor situation.

But, on the whole this is a bit of good news for the economy returning to the great economy we had pre-COVID.

Do you agree?

Can I interest you in a make up, revenge lobster roll, amigo? Yes, I can. Look into my eyes. You want it, don’t you?