On the menu: Restaurants in crisis

Tracking revenue across 12 major metros on a single day, San Francisco eateries fared the worst with a 71% drop in receipts year-to-date; NYC was down 67%

TRD NATIONAL /
Aug.August 28, 2020 07:00 AM
Eateries at two of the hardest-hit cities, San Francisco and New York, have been decimated during the pandemic (iStock)

Eateries at two of the hardest-hit cities, San Francisco and New York, have been decimated during the pandemic (iStock)

Restaurants across the country are still in a near state of emergency months into the pandemic, trying to operate, pay rent and stay afloat while abiding by local and state Covid restrictions.

So it’s not surprising that eateries at two of the hardest-hit cities, San Francisco and New York, have been decimated. Both cities prohibit indoor dining; in California that’s a statewide ban.

Restaurant revenue data from a single day, Wednesday, Aug. 19, across 12 major metros highlights that struggle. And nowhere was it more evident than in San Francisco.

For restaurants in the city that day, business was down 71 percent year-over-year, according to restaurant management platform Toast. That compared to the national average of 42 percent. Toast collected data from 13,000 restaurants across the country.

New York City was second, with a 67 percent decline; while San Jose, California, had a near 64 percent drop; Oakland, was down 55.6 percent; and in Washington, D.C., restaurants fell 53.9 percent.

Toast data showed revenue in Boston restaurants on Aug. 19 was down 53.4 percent year-to-date; Philadelphia, 49 percent; Seattle, 48 percent; Miami, 46 percent; and Houston, at nearly 43 percent.

Courtesy of Toast

Courtesy of Toast

While New York restaurants have benefited more space for outdoor dining, owners still say they are barely scraping by and are concerned about what happens when the weather turns colder. In July, 83 percent of restaurants and bar owners in the city did not pay full rent, and 37 percent paid no rent at all, according to a survey of 471 establishments by the NYC Hospitality Alliance. As a result, the trade group has threatened to sue the city to allow reopening of indoor dining.

And though Miami has seen a rise in Covid cases after restrictions there were eased, the city will again allow indoor dining, at 50 percent capacity, beginning Monday.

In Chicago, where indoor dining returned in late July, revenue was down 42 percent on Aug. 19.

Los Angeles, which had experienced a surge in Covid cases in July, and has some of the tightest retail restrictions, reported a 40 percent drop in revenue.

Contact Sasha Jones at [email protected]


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