People are spending their stimulus money at restaurants

restaurant sign asking patrons to wait outside for pickup
Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor (Getty Images)

One of the things I’m looking forward to, when this whole pandemic thing eases up, is going back to restaurants. Being able to go, and sit, and have good food (finally not cooked by me) is going to feel like a goddamn relief. Even though I am going to have a hard time getting the nerve to sit next to people again, with or without masks on.


While I really am worried about the state of restaurant survival these days, it’s good to know we’re all longing for the same thing: trade publication Restaurant Business says that, once people received their most recent round of stimulus checks, there was a big bump in restaurant sales, which may lead to something more optimistic down the road.

The numbers reported in the piece do involve big-name chains like Applebee’s, which experienced positive same-store sales for the first time in a while. Chili’s reported a same nationwide bump aside from California and Illinois. The stimulus numbers seem to follow patterns that were already recorded—say, if gas prices are low, why not spend the money you saved at a fast food restaurant? Or if your tax return popped into your checking account, why not at least spend a bit on a restaurant meal?

There’s not any information on smaller mom and pop restaurants, however. Hopefully the trends continue with them as well, though chain restaurant takeout sales seem to be hurting a little less as so many places step up their takeout game. We’ll take the positive news where when we can get it.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.


tonight, living in a fantasy

My partner and I have taken to fancy dining in the back of my SUV. We get take out a lot every once in a while, but the whole business of eating out of the to-go containers with plastic cutlery and trying to keep the steering wheel and dash clean is a nightmare.

So we set up a short table and big pillows in the back, with the back seat folded down. It’s like sitting on the floor. We use regular plates and silverware and bring water. Tiny battery op candles. It’s romantic and we get to eat the food while it’s hot (we live an hour from civilization).