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.