• Restaurants in states that have lifted restrictions on dine-in services are likely to struggle as diners have yet to rush back, according to data from OpenTable. 
  • While restaurant attendance is unlikely to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels soon, the data showed attendance was down around 90% compared to last year, even in states that have reopened. 
  • The data suggests diners are likely to stay home even if they’re allowed to return to restaurants, and could signal a slow and unpredictable recovery for the restaurant industry. 
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Restaurant attendance in states that have reopened is still extremely low compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to new data from OpenTable. 

Ruobing Su/Business Insider

In Texas, attendance as of this week is down 84% compared to last year, according to the data. In Missouri, a state where restaurants, movie theaters, and even stadiums were allowed to reopen, attendance was down 98%. 

Restaurant attendance in Georgia, which was one of the first states to reopen, is still 92% less than at the same time last year. 

While numbers are unlikely to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, the lagging attendance in reopened states suggest that diners are reluctant to return, signaling a potentially slow and unpredictable recovery for the industry. 

Even when considering that most states have put limits on capacity for reopened restaurants, the data shows restaurants are unlikely to reach maximum capacity — a level that restaurant owners have said doesn’t allow for much revenue. 

In the United States overall, attendance was down 96%. While the data is not comprehensive of all restaurants in the United States — it draws from restaurant that use OpenTable for walk-ins and reservations — it provides some early insight into how populations are responding to reopenings around the country. 

With tables spread out, capacity limited, and face masks on diners and employees, dining out during the pandemic won’t look or feel like normal. 

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