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Sat 14th Mar 2020 - UK restaurants see diner numbers decline rapidly as OpenTable data reveals coronavirus impact globally
UK restaurants see diner numbers decline rapidly as OpenTable data reveals coronavirus impact globally: Restaurants in the UK have seen a 20% decline in diners in the past week compared with the same period last year as the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak accelerates, according to new research. Analysis by OpenTable using data from restaurants on its platform also showed the impact coronavirus is having across the globe. The data, which is taken across online and phone reservations as well as walk-ins, showed in the UK the number of diners has been declining rapidly since the start of March. At the beginning of the month the number of diners fell 2% year-on-year. As of yesterday (Friday, 13 March) that had jumped to a decline of 26% compared with the same day in 2019. Over the past week London has seen a 25% year-on-year decline in restaurant diner numbers and yesterday it saw its biggest fall so far – down 36% compared with the same day last year. But the effect of coronavirus is being felt right across the world. US restaurants have seen a 20% drop in diner numbers over the past week while Mexico and Canada are down between 15% and 17%. Analysis at a city level showed diner numbers in the period are down about 45% in Seattle, 40% in San Francisco, 30% in New York and 25% in Los Angeles and Chicago. Globally, diner numbers were down yesterday 36% year-on-year with numbers in Ireland plummeting 51% compared with last year. The only country not to see a double-digit decline in diner numbers yesterday was Australia, where it fell 8%, according to the data. In Canada, numbers fell 40% year-on-year, 36% in the US, 28% in Germany and 16% in Mexico. At a city level, yesterday's figures showed declines across the world, with Seattle hit the hardest, which suffered a 63% decline in diner numbers year-on-year. In New York, where restaurants with fewer than 500 seats have been ordered to reduce capacity by 50% to try to slow down the spread of the virus, there was a 61% drop. Meanwhile, Boston was down 56% year-on-year and San Francisco 53%. The cities to see the smallest declines were Ciudad de México in Mexico, which was down 16%, and Honolulu, which fell 18%. In the past five days only Vancouver in Canada, San Pedro Garza García in Mexico and Atlanta in the US have seen any daily increase in diner numbers year-on-year, and they all came at the start of the week. OpenTable chief operating officer Andrea Johnston said: “The covid-19 pandemic is making many of us stay home and our community of almost 60,000 restaurants is facing a severe reduction in diners. Reservations stayed stable in February with a big increase on Valentine’s Day. But March brought new health and safety concerns around the world. In the US and UK, we saw a 20% reduction in total seated diners verses last year. Things seem to be getting worse quickly, though with the US, UK, and Canada all now down by about 30%. We’re working with restaurant associations in their discussions for government relief. We are all in this together.”

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