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How exactly will COVID-19 effect restaurants in Los Angeles?

COVID-19. What does it mean for your favorite restaurant? 

Linda Higgins
PR Manager & Chief Editor 

The restaurant sector, prior to the immediate effects of COVID-19, has been extremely volatile. From January to February 2020 consumer confidence dropped 6 points from 99.8 to 93.8. With the corona virus’ repercussions going into full affect in mid-March, it is expected to see a far steeper fall with this latest news. As of Sunday, March 15th, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered restaurants, bars, nightclubs, wineries and breweries to close their doors to combat the spread of COVID-19. Los Angeles is the latest in the list of cities in the U.S. including New York and Seattle taking this precaution. Los Angeles’ specific shut down is scheduled to last until March 31st.

With restaurants being forced to shut their doors, their only source for income is take-out and delivery orders for the foreseeable future.  

In general, delivery and take-out has seen huge growth. Under normal conditions the percentage of customers ordering pick up has doubled since 2016 to approximately 43% (Mintel, 2020). For the fast food and fast casual sector that predominantly rely on this new mobile dominated ‘Postmates and Uber Eats era’ it almost feels like business as usual. 

The unfortunate news is that our beloved full-service restaurants will be the ones to take the full weight of this impact. Although many high-end experience driven restaurants do deliver, this is not their strong suit. A large factor of their appeal and success is based on their ambience and service they provide. With the ‘social’ element stripped and a whole new level of responsibility weighing on their delivery function, it is likely that most will absorb considerable losses. 

With over 26,000 restaurants, Los Angeles is a place with a flourishing fine dining landscape like no other. Excellent quality food and social gathering is something that go hand in hand. In Los Angeles, whether it’s a business meeting, gathering of friends, or a dinner date, the scene is usually set over the dinner table.  

'We may see a number of independent restaurants fall because of the pandemic, which truly makes me feel for the restaurant owners that have poured their heart and soul into their craft. And I feel for their employees who rely on those restaurants as their primary source of income.' - Jide Buckley, Table One. 

The negative effects of COVID-19 on restaurants will likely linger for a number of months due to the financial strain it has put on us as a society. Dining out is a discretionary purchase and when questioned, 44% of diners said they would cut back on dining out first when looking to save money (Mintel, 2020).

Here at Table One we thoroughly support our local restaurants and also urge you to put your health and the health of others first and follow all of the guidelines set out by our Mayor. Even though COVID-19 has a number of unfortunate knock-on-effects on the hospitality sector, it is in all of our best interests to protect those at high-risk and act sensibly.  

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