How Remote Work Is Costing Big City Restaurants and Bars Billions

  • Restaurants and bars in major cities are reducing hours and closing as remote work cuts into weekday traffic, CNBC reported.
  • The problem also extends to smaller towns, such as Baton Rouge.
  • Some cities saw revenue losses of up to nearly $5,000 per person, the research showed.

As the battle continues between remote workers and employers who want them back in person, a new ally has emerged in favor of back-to-the-office — restaurants.

Hybrid and remote work is costing big cities billions in lost revenue, and restaurants and bars are suffering major damage. With fewer people in the office — especially on Mondays and Fridays, typically the busiest days of the week for dining before the pandemic — restaurants are missing out on much-needed revenue, CNBC reported.

A new study from WFH Research released last week found that large cities lose between $2,000 and $5,000 for each employee who works either hybrid or remote.

New York City had the most to lose as workers stayed away, with a drop in spending of $4,661 per person, according to WFH.

“The bad news for these restaurant owners and others is that I don’t think we’re going back to normal, and we’re probably close to where the new normal is,” the WFH co-founder Researcher Jose Maria Barrero told CNBC.

Some bars and restaurants in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are reducing hours or even closing their doors, according to CNBC.

The problem has extended beyond the largest US cities, plaguing once-vibrant downtowns across the country.

“If people don’t come to work downtown, they don’t come here to eat,” Brian Minor, general manager of a restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told local TV station WAFB.

Baton Rouge restaurants are offering customers deals such as $15 three-course, lunch dinners, WAFB reported. But in many cases, the lack of foot traffic is still a huge burden for local restaurants.

“It has pros and cons,” Jake Polansky, Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s economic and policy researcher, told WAFB. “It’s something that downtown areas and cities across the country are trying to figure out, what to do when more workers start working from home and don’t commute as often.”

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