The State of American Restaurants, by City, November Update

“Seated diners” get scarcer again as new Covid cases surge.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Eight months into the Pandemic, about 78% of the US restaurants that had taken reservations before the Pandemic took reservations again during the last week in October, the highest since the start of the Pandemic, according to data from OpenTable. This does not include fast-food restaurants, delis, drive-throughs, cafés, and other types of eateries that never took reservations.

But “seated diners,” another metric provided by OpenTable, has dropped to the worst reading since September 19, perhaps due to the surge in Covid-19 cases, with some cities – we’ll get to them in a moment – showing a pronounced decline. This metric represents the percentage drop of the number of people (walk-ins and those with reservations) who ate in restaurants compared to the same weekday in the same week last year. As of October 31, the seven-day moving average of “seated diners” was down 44.6% from the same period last year:

The reading of -100% in the chart above during the lockdowns in April means that the guest count had plunged to essentially zero because restaurants were closed.

OpenTable’s data on seated diners is based on a broad sample of 20,000 restaurants that shared that information with OpenTable.

Restaurants in most places have offered outside-dining for months. Inside dining is more restricted. In many places where inside dining is offered, it comes with limits, such as diners cannot exceed 25% or 50% of capacity, and the bar areas might be closed, which makes it tough to run a restaurant, even in survival mode.

With a large enough outside dining area – repurposed parking, adjacent public area, big sidewalks wrapping around the corner, or an entire street closed to traffic – the restaurant can do good business during nice weather.

I know some restaurants that now have more outside space than they’d ever had inside, and September and October being summer in San Francisco, did solid business. Other restaurants, such as those with narrow fronts and narrow sidewalks, cannot seat enough or any people outside to make up for capacity constraints for inside dining, and they remain closed for seated dining, though some do takeout. Many gave up altogether. Winners and losers – determined by sidewalk space.

On the demand side in San Francisco – and this is also the case in Manhattan, Honolulu, and some other cities – tourism has taken a huge hit, with international mass-tourism essentially shut down. In addition, an unknown number of workers have left San Francisco to work from anywhere, or they have left because they lost their jobs and cannot afford to live in the City on unemployment compensation. And thereby demand for restaurant dining has also been crushed.

Cities in the West and Hawaii:

Among the cities in the West and Hawaii for which OpenTable provides data, the seven-day moving average of “seated diners” is down the most in Seattle (-78%), San Francisco (-77%), and Honolulu (-77%), followed by Los Angeles (-63%) and Portland (-65%). Phoenix (-58%) has recently dropped to where it had been before Labor Day. Las Vegas (-30%), San Diego (-31%), and Denver (-38%) are the least bad-off, but seated diners at all three have declined recently to pre-Labor Day levels. Except for Hawaii, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, there hasn’t been any improvement over the past two months:

Cities in the Midwest:

In the five major cities in the Midwest for which OpenTable provides data, the seven-day moving average of seated diners is still down between 52% in Cincinnati and 75% in Chicago. Note the strong improvement in Cincinnati over the past few months. But there has hardly been any improvement since the 4th of July in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis:

Cities on the East Coast:

There has been a downturn in seated diners in all six cities on the East Coast for which OpenTable provides data, with the biggest downturn in Philadelphia, from the high in early October of -50%, to the low on October 31 of -71% (seven-day moving average). In New York City, the number of seated diners was down 79% from a year ago. At the top was Pittsburg (-57%).

Cities in the South:

Among the 10 cities in the South for which OpenTable provides data, the seven-day moving average of seated diners topped in Tampa at -17%, the best reading of any of the cities covered here. At the other end is New Orleans, where seated diners are down 68% from a year ago. But all cities experienced deteriorating metrics recently, and there hasn’t been much or any improvement since before Labor Day:

Eight months into the Pandemic, the restaurant recovery has gotten stuck. Outdoor dining is great, if the conditions are halfway right. Now the winter months are coming. This may make outdoor dining finally comfortable in Phoenix and some other cities in the southern part of the US, and they might see improvements in their out-door dining business to compensate for the capacity constraints on their indoor dining offerings.

But it can get decidedly uncomfortable in the northern cities, and outdoor dining will become a challenge on many days. Even in San Francisco, where temperatures might be still bearable over the winter on many days, there are challenges: Rainy season is coming (hopefully), and no one is going to eat outside in the rain. And that goes for outdoor dining anywhere: Reservations turn into no-shows once it starts raining.

Restaurants are experimenting with tent structures and big awnings and what not, and they’ve been buying patio heaters, which, like so many Pandemic items, are now in short supply. Ultimately, the conditions associated with winter weather may cause more restaurant owners in cities with cold or wet winters to throw in the towel.

Work-from-anywhere, unemployment crisis, oil bust, people chasing a cheaper less crowded place to live, the land rush to buy homes. Read… I’m in Awe of How Fast Rents Plunge in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Other Expensive Cities. Rents Decline Even in Houston & Dallas. National Average Turns Negative

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  178 comments for “The State of American Restaurants, by City, November Update

  1. Kasadour says:

    I don’t know if I’d call Hawaii an improvement. but least it’s not at -100%. I feel particularly worried for the people of Hawaii. It’s literally in the middle of nowhere and at some point it’s going to be extremely difficult to ship petrol there in quantities that keep the cities and the entire system operating. I wonder if it’s not already too late for folks to get the heck out of there.

    • JC says:

      They have all the wind, sun and bio mass they need to walk away from oil products anytime. They can show the way for the rest of north america.

      • Lane Mariner says:

        If it is too expensive to ship oil distillates then how will they pay for (currently) expensive renewables? There is a very limited number of US shipping companies that engage in Jones Act trade to Hawaii, and these contracts are long term. Neither the state nor the companies which service the state can afford to lose their contracts.

        • MarMar says:

          Much cheaper to ship capital goods once than fuels over and over again.

          Hawaii already has an extremely high rate of penetration of residential solar, to the point that their electric company is far more experienced in dealing with reverse flows of electricity *from* houses *to* the grid than anywhere else in the US.

      • MCH says:

        They sure can, just take a look at HART, one of the many results of one party rule for the last almost fifty years (with exception of one minor stretch of madness), they can definitely lead the way.

        Although where to is a completely different question. Hawaii can be considered the US writ large given how it is the service oriented economy.l with nearly zero manufacturing to speak of.

        • Beardawg says:

          What’s HART ?

        • Lee says:

          What’s HART?

          It should be named HURT.

          It is the around $10 billion dollar mass transit boondoogle for the city of Honolulu.

          I think that they must have been taking advice from the State Labor government here in Victoria, Australia who excell at cost overruns and being late in every major construction project they have ever touched.

        • MCH says:

          Think Hawaii’s version of California’s high speed rail.

          But for Oahu only

        • MCH says:

          Lee, I think I actually read the cost is projected to be $12B now.

          I know, it’s a drop in the bucket really in the grand scheme of things. But the funny thing was the original projection when the project came out was $6B to $7B. I think when the estimate first came out, there were people who challenged the numbers, but it got pushed through anyway… since the state government didn’t want to take the responsibility of challenging the city government on certain assertions.

          The local government, such as it is, is corrupt as hell. But at least they are all very progressive.

          Cause you know things are bad when funding was withheld by the Obama administration at one point. The same audacity of hope that grew up in Honolulu.

      • realestatepup says:

        This is a ridiculous comment. Hawaii is a good candidate to become “green” BECAUSE it’s Hawaii.
        Where I live (MA) the winter months would make completely green energy untenable. The short daylight hours and cold temps kick solar to the curb. Even California cannot sustain solar once the sun goes down. Hence the rolling black and brown outs.
        We don’t have enough wide open, windy areas on land for wind farms in this area like they do out west.
        There are a few giant wind generators here and there, but many of them are not run all the time due to proximity to houses and the noise and flicker the blades make. A lot of people don’t realize you can experience massive migraines and nausea when sunlight streams across the giant blades as the move, causing flicker inside your home, which is a strobe effect. I have experienced it myself in a friends house it’s terrible.

        • candyman says:

          mmm…and we missed the opportunity to build the wind farm on the Cape..NIMBY. Million invested, but I guess it’s like listening to the science, we do just as we damn well please. Do as I say, not as I do

        • MCH says:

          I will have you know the overwhelming majority of those folks on the Cape voted Barack/Hillary. They aren’t climate deniers, you shouldn’t bash supporters of the cause.

          There are plenty of places like Baltimore, downtown Detroit, or Boston, where you can stick windmills and solar panels without ruining nature. Can’t we live in harmony with nature and not see the product of rampant industrialization everywhere. ?

          But seriously, no one says you can’t try again.

      • Thomas says:

        Really? Why are they hanging on to fossil fuel then?

      • c1ue says:

        What a load of nonsense.
        Hawaii is 90%+ dependent on literal oil fueled electricity generation.

        • MCH says:

          That’s because their jackass led government isn’t nearly progressive enough. They are pretty much like a bunch of MA Republicans. Otherwise, they’d have weaned themselves off of petroleum a long time ago. Paradise deserves a chance to become a true “green” paradise, where are the AOCs of Hawaii to help push for change. Bring them on. We need change we can believe in. 2008 and audacity of hope was so last decade, we need something fit for the 2020s.

        • Frederick says:

          When I visited Kauai in 2001 I was horrified to see the smoke coming from the generators with all that sun and trade wind everywhere

        • MarMar says:

          It looks like it’s more like 70% these days, and due to the cost they are shifting away rapidly.

        • Gordian knot says:

          There is a good article on green energy on capital exploited by chris. Eye opening.

      • Seneca’s Cliff says:

        The Hawaiian Island of Molokai is the furthest along in solar and wind energy because their only other electricity comes from diesel generators. But they are having difficulty moving above a modest percentage of renewables, and are still running those diesels more than they want. Managing even a small grid with the variability of renewables is very difficult .

        • MCH says:

          You know the solution, right?

          Massive amounts of Elon Musk batteries in conjunction with solar and wind. That’ll cure all of the problems at once.

          To pay for it, the jackasses can just give Niihau to Musk. No one will miss it anyway. If Ellison can own Lanai, why can’t Musk own Niihau. And heck, the state would get Elon batteries out of it.

          It’s F***ing magic.

      • CharleyC says:

        Sounds as if you should be living in Hawaii and help them show us rubes how to do it right. Or don’t you really believe that “green” bill of goods? So if you leave now, using sail and oar, you could be in Hawaii by April or May.

    • Keith Matthews says:

      Why is it any different now for shipping petrol than before?
      Just curious.

      • Harrold says:

        Its not.

        Hawaii has never imported oil or distillates from the lower 48. From Russia, yes.

        1/2 of Hawaii’s oil consumption is jet fuel, or at least was prior to covid.

        • MCH says:

          Yup, if they cut themselves off from air travel, they can reduce their carbon footprint by half (from pre-Covid levels at least). It’s an innovative and bold solution.

          Ok, I can’t say that without laughing my ass off.

        • Kasadour says:

          I guess we will see what happens. I just don’t have a good feeling about Hawaii and for good reason. You cannot just seamlessly transition to green in such a short amount of time, it’s all about the timing, without some serious issues to contend with re transportation, food production and distribution. We aren’t there yet I don’t care what the greens say.

        • Boomer says:

          2018 facts. Good luck cutting off from the mainland.

        • Seneca’s Cliff says:

          The best thing about Hawaii is that you really don’t need much energy to live there. A rooftop solar water heater and a way to cook is about all you really need. Once the cars are gone getting around by bike or on foot will be fairly easy.

        • Anthony A. says:

          In 2019 it imported gasoline from South Korea as one of the two refineries in Hawaii was shut down.

        • KGC says:

          As someone who regularly books shiploads of distillates from the West Coast to HI I can say that your statement is untrue.

          The main issue with HI going green is agriculture. The islands cannot feed themselves without a huge loss of people and standard of living.

        • Lee says:

          “The best thing about Hawaii is that you really don’t need much energy to live there. A rooftop solar water heater and a way to cook is about all you really need. Once the cars are gone getting around by bike or on foot will be fairly easy.”

          Are you serious?

          Guess you’ve never been to Hawai’i.

          I wonder how those thousands and thousands of people living in all those high rise condos and apartments are going to be able to:

          ‘put up a rooftop solar water heater’

          Guess they’ll have to walk up and down 20 flights of stairs too – well given that there are a lot of ft people in Hawai’i that would be good, but more than likely medical cost would soar from people having heart attacks!!!

        • Stephen Cavaliere says:

          Per Seneca’s comment on Hawaii. Yes, I agree that for a sane person it wouldn’t take much energy to live there, considering the near perfect climate. However, to have giant hotels catering to mass tourists who will want a refund if they so much as break a sweat in the room, restaurant, or bar, uh. . . I’m not sure if that would work.

        • MCH says:


          You know, I heard that one before…. it’s called Hawaii for the Hawaiians.

          The funny thing is… without that fat tourists, the Hawaii economy would be pretty much in a state of collapse, like it is now. But jobs are for the uncultured and the unenlightened.

          As ol’KGB from Rounders would say, “don’t you worry, son, it’ll all be over soon.” Yes, the government has that one handled, it’s been working for years to diversify the economy away from a dependence on tourism. The fruits of that labor will appear any day now.

        • Kasadour says:

          @ Boomer:

          Thanks for the link. This is from your link:

          Hawaii was the first state to set a deadline for generating 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, which is required to be achieved by 2045.

          2045? Looks like a real possibility that date will be moved up significantly. Even the greens know it takes a long time and under the best possible conditions to transition off fossil fuels. Also, the per-capita usage of fossil fuel energy in Hawaii indicates these are still the really only energy source available in enough abundance to keep cities and towns totaling 1.5 million people in Hawaii up and running and viable.

    • roddy6667 says:

      Hawaii has a lot of heat underground, with the volcanoes. They could tap this to generate pollution-free electricity. Iceland heats entire cities this way. It is only a matter of a few more degrees of heat before you have free steam to drive a turbine.

      • Lee says:

        There was a pilot plant on the Big Island doing just that until the latest eruption there forced it to close.

        I don’t know if it has restarted or if if was shut down as a result.

        And you’d have to talk to the experts in that area as I doubt that the other islands have anything that would qualify as being able to generate electrcity from a geothermal source.

        Iceland is completely differnet from Hawai’i in that respect.

      • RickV says:

        Its called Geothermal Power, and its very promising. In fact, Ormat Technologies (ORA) has geothermal facilities on the Big Island near the Kilauea Volcano, a beautiful sight to behold. As reported by Alt Energy Stocks on their website: “In early May 2018, the Kilauea volcano erupted, giving the Hawaiian Islands a grand fire show. For Ormat and its neighbors near its Puna Geothermal Power Project the volcano was more nightmare than entertainment. Within a few days Ormat was forced to shut down the facility on Kilauea by removing surface equipment and plugging the geothermal well holes. Nonetheless, three well sites, the electric substation, an adjacent warehouse and drilling equipment were overtaken by flowing lava and destroyed.”

      • Michael Grace says:

        Geothermal produces 26.2 percent of electricity in Iceland the rest being hydroelectric, but also heats most buildings.
        Only 357,000 people live in the country, however, less than the population of the London borough of Hackney – part of a city population of near ten million

    • kevin says:

      Kasadour – your comment deserves some elaboration.
      Hawaii will do fine as long as her island population is kept at or below sustainable levels vis-a-vis her natural productive land mass (notwithstanding the fact that she does have very rich volcanic soil that can feed quite a sizeable human presence, but it is still finite.)

      Same goes for the American continent which is essentially just a much bigger version of an island.

      By extension, the same goes for our planet – which is really just a tiny oasis floating in a vast ocean of space. And its also a finite piece of rock.

      Me think its more likely that Mother Nature is telling us, in no uncertain terms with this coronavirus, that we’re over-populating and hence overly polluting this little blue island in space. And unless you have a flying saucer and know how to get to another fertile planet, there’s really no where to “get the heck out of” our 3rd rock from the Sun.

      Its too late, we have to face the problem of our own fecundity. ;-)

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Kevin-thank you. It’s hard to see that the back of the elephant has long been separating the roof from the joists while most attention has been concentrated on the toes of beast…

        “…we have met the enemy, and he is us…” – pogo (the late, lamented Walt Kelly).

        may we all find a better day.

      • Old School says:

        Pretty high correlation to the number of people on the planet and life expectancy. Reason being? The more people on the planet the more brain power to solve life’s problems. I think there is a limit, but I don’t know what it is.

        • kevin says:

          Old School, correlation is not causation. Sorry if this sounds eugenistically-inclined, but you need proportionately more “intelligent” and “useful” people (not merely more people) to effectively level up human civilization and the overall standard of living – including inventing the technologies to extend human life expectancy.

          And yes, you’re right that there is a limit, beyond which, the marginal utility (for want of a better word) of additional humans becomes more of a liability, especially if they tip the average IQ of the population downwards.

      • Lee says:

        Another desktop warrier that posts about something that hey have never seen or been to………………

        Have you ever been to Hawai’i?

        • kevin says:

          Lee, I was using Hawaii just for the purposes of analogy. Have I been to Hawaii? No.

          So please replace the honorable mentions of Hawaii in my comment with Iceland, since it does not change my points at all.

          Have I been to Iceland? Yes.
          Beautiful volcanic island too – which can definitely sustain far more than her useful population of only about 300,000+.

          Um…so I have permission to talk about Iceland because I’ve been there once right? lol.

          Btw, you’re not related to Bruce Lee are you? Always looking for the slightest excuse for a fight (as a desktop warrior yourself eh? :)

  2. Thomas Roberts says:

    In my area, alot of the fast food and fast casual restaurants have been shutting their dine-in areas back down (they usually say at least until the end of the year), because, presumably they were losing money from that. They are back to take out/drive thru/delivery only. More formal restaurants are still, also way down.

    • Joe Saba says:

      In Arizona I’d say 60-80% inside dining has returned
      My wife and I had 2 nights in October for her birthday were we dined in
      at 4pm we opened restaurant, 2nd night was Mr. An’s – it was packed
      now we’re back to grilling on friday nights instead
      cheaper and better food

      • joe2 says:

        “now we’re back to grilling on friday nights instead
        cheaper and better food”
        Exactly. It was never about the better food or privilege of paying more for drinks. It was about the sense of companionship and being part of a human community. Similar to belonging to a churches.
        Something the government wants to breakdown. You should only be part of the government, beholden to the government, and loyal to the CCP oops I mean US government.

        • Phil says:

          People are making the choice to stay home rationally, to avoid a serious illness with potential long term effects or even death. The main reason the government deserves blame is for failing to coordinate a national response. Keeping the virus under control is the best way to help the economy, because most people are not willing to risk of serious illness to go eat out.

        • Happy1 says:

          @ Phil

          National response was a problem for a few weeks at the start of the pandemic. It is not the issue now and hasn’t been for months. The EU has about 50% more cases currently on a per capita basis. The issue isn’t “inadequate national response” at this point, it’s “people need to mask and not gather indoors”. The response needs to be state and local because we are a large country and there are places that are not doing well and places that are.

  3. Brady Boyd says:


  4. MarMar says:

    With the plexiglass, heaters, and now probably umbrellas, they’re trying as hard as they can to make outdoor as “indoor” as possible. Instead, perhaps we should be making indoor as “outdoor” as possible – for instance, by doing HVAC overhauls of all buildings.

    At the beginning of the pandemic I thought HVAC work would become wildly popular, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

    • Felix_47 says:

      That is exactly what we need. There is a system the Germans are working on.

    • Dave says:

      Maybe it is because it is hard to invest the $$ in overhaul/upgrades when business/profits have taken a nosebleed dive?

      This is not to say that is not a good idea, just implementing it may be cost prohibitive

    • Nick says:

      I agree with you that hvac overhaul makes sense for safety, but there was no way that these scrambling administrators and politicians were going to be able to come up with accurate ways to test for effect on transmission reduction and on that basis grant waivers to indoor dining bans. It took them forever to acknowledge aerosol spread and most of what you still see in PSAs and signage is about washing surfaces. Still don’t see any hope for that but if this situation looks like it’s dragging on into next winter than maybe they can get it together.

      • Happy1 says:

        The issue of aerosol spread isn’t a government issue per se, the research needed to prove this takes time and is still evolving, we are acting more on empirical evidence than research at this point still.

    • Martha Careful says:

      HVAC spreads the virus, duh …

    • Thomas says:

      But how fast must air be changed around diners to make that potential solutution possible? Would this solution create a windy environment?

    • Keith Matthews says:

      Nailed it, the tech is already there. Casinos have smoking indoors and you don’t even know it. Custom Air exchangers and super hepas and ventilation and we could have let people be free. Put a damn air puller over every table like a vent hood over a stove.
      Instead I’ve witnessed what amounts to a new tent building at Mastros steak house in the parking lot on PCH near Malibu.
      What a joke. Forced to build a new building when you already have one.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Agree with your comment km, except for the ”Casinos have smoking indoors and you don’t even know it. ” part:
        Been in only a couple of the ”south of strip” ones the last half decade or so, and love to be there every time due to the wonderful people, and, in spite of my desire to test my skill against the now six decks for the 21, i did not,,, due to the heavy tobacco 2nd or 3rd smoke prevailing on the places to gamble i wanted to go.
        Would not be surprised, at all, if LV and NV casinos, etc., lead the world in the installation of Covid safe and certified HVAC…
        Would absolutely go back to the two, and maybe many more, as i really enjoy what LV and NV have to offer, some of it unique to this day in spite of the obvious social mellow.

    • Old School says:

      We have a southern tradition of nearly every town having a favorite fried seafood restaurant. The two I know of have successfully transitioned to drive up service where the waitresses meet you at your car and take the order and payment and bring you the food in a really efficient manner. I actually like it better than the old system. Currently they do have some reduced capacity inside, but I had rather eat at home anyway. It’s one of the meals that you can purchase cheaper than preparing the same thing at home.

    • Old School says:

      I have wondered about the state of HVAC. I took a college course on HVAC design and was surprised that you brought a small percentage of fresh air into the building each our to keep the air from getting stale. Don’t know what is happening now, but I could see the heat exchanger business taking off if the new standard is you have to have rapid air turnover in a building.

      There are definitely things that can be done air flow modeling on new design that prevents blowing the air from one table to another. Also controlling minimum humidity levels is supposed to be a big deal with the virus.

  5. Frostbitefalls says:

    Most of Illinois just shut down indoor dining again 10-31-20 so look for those poor numbers to tank further.

  6. Joe Crews says:

    Florida, way past the shutdowns in most of the state, is going the other direction. Wedding business is booming, with spring weddings being moved to fall and fall weddings now occurring – some venues are having 3 to 5 weddings each weekend.

    My neighbor is in upper management at one of the 5 star hotels on the west coast of FL and he reports they are at and have been at 100% occupancy for several weeks. Good luck trying to find a rental car – Enterprise/Dollar, Hertz – all booked up.

    • Paulo says:

      I guess there will be lots of vacant apts and RE for sale around the USA as the Florida and South Dakota methods of fighting a pandemic continues to unfold.


      Crowded weddings? Full dining service? It kind of reminds me of all of Jurassic Park movies when the security systems break down and the dinos gobble up humans. The death rate of Covid is 2.5%. The complications and long lasting effects rates are much much higher. This mortality rate is slightly higher than the 1918 Spanish Flu and that killed 650K Americans. I would expect the final Covid number to be in the same ballpark despite better healthcare and communications.

      Whatever. Daddy’s little girl wants a big fall wedding. Let’s talk about it over supper…….

      Oh the horror and inconvenience. The sacrifice of not going out to eat for 1 year. It defies imagination. If you go on Youtube and search for squirrel suits you can view clips of fit young men jumping off cliffs and flying in webbed suits. People jump out of airplanes for sport, or climb cliffs without safety lines. That people pretend a pandemic isn’t real isn’t surprising. It’s just another version of ‘it can’t happen to me’.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        I’m seeing with my own two eyes. When the pandemic started, I emailed my friend who work in medicine for University of FL.

        I asked: “What’s the most important thing I can do?”
        He said: “Wear the mask.”

        I 100% believe the degradation of the US public education system (starting in the early 1980s) and a certain political propaganda channel (rhymes with “rocks”) bear much of the blame.

        It makes me incredibly sad to see the country that put a man on the moon can’t do basic science.

        I wanted to be wrong, so wrong about our “Leader”. But I always worried about what would happen when his “9/11” or his “Katrina” moment came.

        His hands and those of his accomplices are literally dripping in blood. I’m watching half my state (FL) play Russian Roulette in public. Worse, they point the gun at everybody.

        • c1ue says:

          What real world people are doing is understanding that life has to go on.
          COVID mortality rates – even among those hospitalized, has dropped to 7.6% (vs. 50% in March and 25.6% up until end of August).
          There have been 50,000 more suicides in 2020 vs. prior years. There are more overdoses and homicides as well.
          The sad reality is that lockdowns are not working – if China can’t “stop COVID in its tracks” with all of its surveillance power and societal control, it is delusional to think anyone, anywhere else can.
          Repeating failed policies is precisely repeating mistakes thinking outcomes will be different.
          I don’t have an issue with masks – they are cheap and have very low opportunity cost penalties – but lockdowns are completely different.

        • Jdog says:

          Public health is the domain of State and Local officials. To blame local health conditions on the National government is simply stupid, and shows a lack of understanding of the relationship between the Federal and State governments.
          While I agree, the government education system is horrible, it is the liberal teachers and teachers unions who have caused the decline in the intelligence of out younger population.
          Logic and reasoning is contrary to liberal ideals, so those were the first things that needed to be ex sponged from the educational system in order to indoctrinate young people in the liberal agenda.

        • Harrold says:

          A thousand people a day are dying of covid in the US.

          Makes asll those seat belt laws look kinda stupid in hindsight.

        • California Bob says:

          ‘ex sponged???’

          Oh the irony.

        • Old School says:

          I would disagree with the doctor. Most important thing is to limit your number of contacts then followed by mask wear. Preventing contact with infected person is as close to 100% as you can get. Don’t get me wrong, when I do have to go out it’s a mask, but masks are not 100% prevention.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Jdog-please. Do you have any children? If you do, i believe you’re being disingenuous about ‘government education’.

          Primary and secondary schools across the nation are governed by local school boards, with mostly state guidelines and some Federal. Waay too-many ‘Muricans see public schools as childcare first/education second, and have either (a) never attended school board meetings or seriously paid attention to board elections/policies, or (b) have installed members who feel nothing but the ‘3R’s’ and sports should be taught (gawd forbid perhaps teaching critical thinking/grade-appropriate instruction-at EVERY GRADE-civics&unvarnished U.S. history, which, with all of its flaws, can demonstrate that our ‘exceptionalism’ lies in the realization that we have, and will ALWAYS, work to make life better for ALL of our citizens. Resting on past laurels is a sure sign of declining empire).

          If you aren’t involved in your local education/school board, whether you have kids or not, I don’t see your gripe. Pain-in-the a**, like most of being a responsible citizen, it certainly is. But, amazing as it may sound, this part of government, and the future (children) of our nation is probably more accessible than any other. (The Republicans, for good or ill, have been pursuing school board election strategies for some time now…).

          Rant over, and my apologies, but to blame government when you ARE the government results in nothing but a perilous personal slide into grievance and victimhood.

          may we all find a better day.

        • Lee says:

          Maybe you should have had your friend in Florida send a letter to the people here in Victoria that work for the Health Department at that time.

          When the virus first took off there were big signs in the pharmacies here put out stating that “Masks don’t help for ordinary people.”

          And as I think I have posted here before when I went to a doctor’s office wearing a mask at that time, they put me in a seperate waiting room because I was ‘scaring the other patients by wearing a mask’.

          And another time before the big lockdown started I went to get a Chest X-ray and I was the only one in the entire waiting area wearing a mask………….

          And then I’d like to remind you of the flip flop of the WHO with regard to face masks as well.

          So maybe get off your high horse and understand that the entire medical community has had different policies at different times with regards to masks and the virus.

          And even though I don’t live in the USA, I think that the people that watch that news outfit you talk about are a small minority of the population in the USA.

          The majority more than likely watch the MSM and read the big city newspapers so if you want to blame ‘news’ then put the blame where it belongs.

      • Bobber says:

        Are they thinking ) “it can’t happen to me”, or 2) “please, please, someone look at me” or 3) “what is my physical limit”?

        The first is stupid, the second is vain. The third is somewhat interesting for a person trying to discover and expand his/her capability set, but these people will have to die to know their true limits.

        • Old School says:

          I think the long term approach should focus on education. If you are in a higher risk category you have to protect yourself and loved ones in that category. Many of the younger healthy people have less risk than being in a car accident or dying from influenza. If the virus is going to be with us a very long time we can’t destroy young people’s future. Maybe the vaccines will be the silver bullet. I certainly hope so.

      • candyman says:

        agreed. As I mentioned, do as I say not as I do. You would never believe we were in a pandemic. Can’t go to work, but everything else, OPEN for the most part. Here in Boston business district, it is closed, no employees! Outside Boston, everything is a go. People complain others not wearing a mask, but having maskless family parties. Wait until thanksgiving, when everyone decides it’s ok to get together. A spike 2nd week of Dec is my prediction. Gov is expected to announce a roll back today. Our infection rate is 1.8%

      • Lee says:

        “The death rate of Covid is 2.5%.”

        No it isn’t and nobody actually knows the death rate, number of infections, and number of carriers that show no symptoms.

        It is all GIGO and has been from the start and in every country in the world.

        The only really known number that has any basis in reality is the number of deaths and even that is questionable.

        Here in Victoria we are ‘celebrating’ no new cases.

        What does that mean?

        It means that there have been no new cases discovered by testing.

        Are there still people out in the community with the virus?

        You bet – it is a 100% certainty.

        If there were in reality no virus in the community then we wouldn’t have a mask requirement, travel restrictions, closed borders, limited dining, and all the other bs that we still have to put up with even after 112 days of severe lockdown.

        All it takes to start the virus up again is ONE person to spread it around and not be caught in time.

        And now that we’ve got it under control to some extent, what do we do next?

        We’ve shut the country off from the rest of the world and are basically prisoners here………………

        • California Bob says:

          “… We’ve shut the country off from the rest of the world and are basically prisoners here …”

          Back to your roots, eh?

        • Lee says:

          “Back to your roots, eh?”

          Nah, I’m an American import, not like those transported English prisoners!!!!

      • Happy1 says:

        I agree with you about weddings, that’s nuts.

        But the real case mortality rate of COVID19 is likely significantly less than 1%, your number is way off.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Brave but foolish climber falls to his death climbing El Capitan solo. That’s acceptable to me. Climber falls from El Capitan and lands on me, killing me. That’s not acceptable.

        • Lee says:

          Or the poor person that was recently killed by a person jumping off a building in Japan that landed on her killing her………….

          Talk about bad luck!

    • tom20 says:

      Of course they are full.
      Illinois is my neighbor. Our bars are
      packed with over the border escapees.

      Florida is packed with Cumo escapees.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        “Illinois is my neighbor. Our bars are packed with over the border escapees.”

        Yes, seems like it. Crowded bars are perfect mass-spreader events. If one person with Covid walks in, 20+ might walk out with Covid and take it home and take it to work and take it to school and infect others. And it goes from there. Going to a crowded bar is a stupid and reckless thing to do. People are dying. And so yes, inevitably, your state Wisconsin has now one of the worst outbreaks in the US.

        • C says:

          Travel an hour south and on the west side of the sound from Seattle and things are looking mostly normal. People seem to have adopted a different perspective! When this all started I thought the goal was to flatten the curve. Are we shifting to complete avoidance? I’m not trying to be belligerent….asking a sincere question. If so than at what expense? Where do we draw the final line?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          “Where do we draw the final line?”

          Wear a mask in public when within a certain distance of others, wear a mask 100% of the time when inside a public building, such as a store, an office, a medical facility, etc. Social distance where possible. Follow hand hygiene. And don’t go to mass-spreader events, such as crowded bars.

          That’s all everyone needs to do. It’s really not that hard. The key is that EVERYONE needs to do this to protect others as a service to the community.

        • KMOUT says:

          In case you haven’t noticed, catching it doesn’t equate to death.

          Flatten the curve dude.

          Just retired as an airline Capt.
          15,000 pilots, 150 cases, 1 hospitalization. No stinking masks in cockpit. Looks like a crowded bar in the back of the plane.
          People survive this.
          Do the damn math Wolf.
          Don’t don’t be a doom porn Fauch.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Nearly a quarter million Americans have died from it in 7 months. Nearly five times as many as in Vietnam.

          Delta Air Lines alone said in an earnings call on June 18 that by that time about 500 of its employees had caught Covid and 10 of its employees had died from Covid.

          So YOU do the damn math.

        • lenert says:

          C – the infection curve in Pierce County is on it’s third peak, higher than the first – it never got flat.

        • C says:

          I agree with all.

        • Jdog says:

          If you think bars are super spreaders, think about school buses in cold weather.
          Then think about what those kids on that bus do once they get to school going from 6 to 8 different classrooms a day.

        • Kasadour says:

          I wouldn’t go near a bar in this pandemonic.

        • tom20 says:

          Our bars have been open since the court ruling last May.
          We were not crowded back then…we were swamped.

          Our Schools & Universities opened last week of August.
          Many have gone back to virtual classes.

          Bar stool v.s. School desk…chart would suggest another round.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Yes, agreed, there is that element. Schools have tried to create a fairly safe environment, a mix of online and in-person with social distancing, masks, tests, etc. Where the whole thing falls apart is when students go out and party and socialize. And I get it. Partying and socializing was an essential part of being a student back in my day. This is really tough on students. So they go out and party, in bars and other venues – and it doesn’t matter what anyone says. I might have done the same thing… I did other crazy things when I was a student (glad I survived, though).

  7. Bobby Dale says:

    Personal observations:
    New Orleans with severe restrictions is sparsely occupied, but in neighboring Metairie, with fewer restrictions, empty seats are hard to come by. Bars outside of Orleans parish are at capacity.

  8. NoFreeLunch says:

    Many restaurants will try to make it through the winter with outside dining. I imagine those propane heaters on poles would be hard to get now. UGI, who owns AmeriGas propane exchange should do well too. As for me, I very rarely ate out before Covid, so didn’t really contribute to that part of the economy.

  9. David Hall says:

    Starbucks recently announced the closure of another 100 coffee shops after announcing the closure of 400 shops in June.

    • Harrold says:

      There are over 14,000 Starbucks in the US.

      • Stephen Cavaliere says:

        Hard to understand why so many Starbucks but then you realize they are not coffee shops, they are white sugar shops.

  10. Nick G says:

    My mother runs a restaurant which was very popular prior to the shutdown, and has been barely surviving thanks to its takeout and outdoor dining options. However ever since the weather here in Ohio turned crappy the last couple weeks her sales have plummeted. If the forecast for this week doesn’t bring sales back up she says she’ll close for good. And there are many small diners around here, surviving solely off of takeout, which I know are even worse off.

  11. rick says:

    Imo,the seated restaurant is a dead business model.if you can’t afford to pay a decent wage and your employees must survive on tips,that is a bankers making ninja loans and getting bailed out.

    • Old School says:

      I kind of agree, but people have to try to find a way to make a living. Goods manufacturing employment is down to about 10% if employment in the US. It was a big employer when I started out, but now employment must be found in the service business and high labor content bars and grills were one opportunity that might have dried up.

  12. Cobalt Programmer says:

    Most of the people are used to dining at home with delivery or carryout. Calm and relaxed at home, looking at TV or some movies. No need to hurry out. Lot of them are carryout – delivery only now.

    I went to Ihop for dining. Usually for the past 8 months, I carry out from restaurants. Things were changed more than I expected. I normally order french toast or pancakes and eat them with three different syrups (normal, blueberry and strawberry). Nope, they served me a syrup in a packet. Also, the coffee is unlimited and they leave the whole big jar in the table. Now, just a cup. I could have asked for more but didn’t.

  13. Martha Careful says:

    Risk levels are high, and obviously will go far higher as global virus cases explode in the next 2 months. As for stocks and growth, risk is decreasing volume and fewer speculators will be playing in the loser casino. Eating out is the least of our worries!

    • Old School says:

      If there was no virus about 3 million people were going to die in the US this year anyway. A lot of those are because we are a somewhat free country and people can find a lot of risky behaviours that do themselves and others in. In utopia all of those excess deaths would not happen, but we are a Federalist society and people get to choose bad behaviour state by state. To a large degree responsible people are being responsible with covid prevention. Others not so much.

      One place health experts in the western world messed up was telling people they didn’t need to wear mask early on. If you have expert status you cannot make a mistake like that.

  14. Turtle says:

    I think I’d rather eat outside a restaurant by a heater this Thanksgiving than follow Newsom’s iron-fisted rules for holiday gatherings at home.

    Am I the only one that thought this was a joke at first? It’s creepy (2 hours max, outside, paper plates only, record everybody’s addresses!).

    “California releases crazy mandatory guidance for private gatherings this Holiday season”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      There are well-founded fears that Thanksgiving will turn into another mass-spreader holiday, and we’ve already seen how this works, only this time, it will be in the winter and the consequences will be worse. So it’s good to get some clear guidelines — instead of the ceaseless braindead self-contradictory, muddled BS coming out of the White House.

      • David G LA says:

        Is that you Wolf or has someone hijacked this web site??? I agree 100 percent. I think the site readership might take a hit though.

      • Kasadour says:

        Walk, Dont Run’s motto is spot on: Asteroid 2020

      • 2GeekRnot2Geek says:


        I understand your exasperation. And agree with you completely. It’s simple. Wear a mask, wash your hands, try not to go to crowded places unless you have to.

        Hope this coming holiday season finds you and all the commenters here healthy, happy, and financially secure.

        And to let you all know how I really feel about everything going on in America right now:

        Mission Control: Buckaroo, The White House wants to know is everything OK with the alien space craft from Planet 10 or should we just go ahead and destroy Russia?

        Buckaroo Banzai: Tell him yes on one and no on two.

        Mission Control: Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia… or number 2?

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Thanksgiving is simply an opportunity to inoculate small groups of people from distant locations so that they are contagious for the main events during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If people cannot think clearly about something as simple as containing infection, why should they majority vote to elect a leader. The inmates are attempting to manage the asylum.

  15. MCH says:


    Curious to see on this particular restaurant trend you have been reporting on when the focus will change from “it’s the virus” to “it’s the economy.”

  16. Sporkfed says:

    I’m in a snowbird location. The bars and restaurants are packed. It seems those
    who voted for the politicians to shut everything down back home have no problem migrating south for the winter.

    Cases are ticking up, but hospitalization
    and deaths are way down . Perhaps the
    virus is more contagious but less deadly ?

    • Martha Careful says:

      Re: “Perhaps the
      virus is more contagious but less deadly ?”

      That was known several months ago and as the virus continues to mutate, it’s becoming more virulent. Deaths are being somewhat mitigated by faster medical response, but death is still very much a side-effect, as is long-term cellular impacts. Ignoring the virus and pretending its a hoax is like thinking a person can drink raw sewage and ignore the realities of health regulations designed to protect everyone, including the legally insane.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      There is a 3-4-week lag between “cases” and “deaths.” Hospitalizations also lag. The virus takes its time. So those numbers will come up – they always go.

      That said, treatments and medical understanding have gotten a lot better, and patients are now more likely to survive the ICU than they did before. The long-term consequences of a Covid infection (heart issues, brain issues, etc. even for young people) however are still not well understood.

    • Jdog says:

      Not sure where you got your information, but it is wrong. Hospitalizations are up… way up. Another consideration is that if you are hospitalized, and your insurance only covers 80% it could be a life changing economic event….
      That alone should make you very wary about catching the virus….

      • Happy1 says:

        This is definitely the case in CO, large increase in hospital cases.

        Small increase in deaths though. There is less nursing home and older people with this wave relatively.

    • David G LA says:

      What makes you think they are the same voters? just because a state is “blue” doesn’t mean that everyone from that state, now in your snowbird-landia, voted for restrictions.

      • Sporkfed says:

        I have conversations with them.
        They are the same people who retire here to get away from high
        taxes but demand the same level of services they got back home.

        • tom20 says:

          Then be sure to get involved. City, Town board, or planning & zoning boards. They are nice people, they just come from urban areas and are used to govt. or hoa dictating to them.

    • fajensen says:

      Cases are ticking up, but hospitalization
      and deaths are way down . Perhaps the
      virus is more contagious but less deadly ?

      I think the main difference is that now we have far more testing, whereas before, we only tested people ill enough to go to hospital, meaning that the number of infected was way higher than the statistics said and the outcomes for those tested were of course worse also since they got ill enough to seek medical attention.

      Hospitals today have much better understanding on how the infection progresses and eventually kills some of the patients so they can apply better treatments earlier.

      I normally takes several weeks and in some cases months, for Covid-19 to kill someone who is not particularly sensitive to it. Maybe “the first wave” happened earlier so that in March 2020 there was already a large reservoir of sick, but undiagnosed, people “primed” to kick the bucket?

      I had a really vicious flu in September 2019 which lasted until November 2019. I had tests, x-rays, blood drawn ,what-not and the conclusion was that “Its’ a virus, nothing we can do, gov.”. Then in February 2020 wife and I got ill in a different way, wife was ill with “something flu like” for 8 days, I got better in March/April 2020, the joint pains disappeared just now in October 2020. I am quite sure that was Corona.

      This being Sweden, no Testing was done because we were not ill enough to risk wasting a test on it being negative!

      Before falling ill, I noticed a lot more people than usual on the commuter train coughing and harking all the 45 minutes journey from December’s travels. So, I believe that many people were infected quite a bit earlier than the official pandemic.

      Anyways, this is just speculation.

      I do notice that Sweden has changed its radical ideas radically:

      “Heard Immunity” is Gone – This is basically a full lockdown, harder than Denmarks, just without masks (That was too un-Swedish, obviously). It is also too late, IMO.

      It will be interesting to see who is being promoted into a purely advisory position later, or teaching, when “they” think nobody are looking.

  17. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Bloomberg reports that Iconic Restaurant Chain Friendly’s has filed for bankruptcy. Never heard of the chain before, but supposed;y they are big on the East Coast.

    • Pete Koziar says:

      Friendly’s was big. They started out with ice cream (stupendous banana splits), then branched out into burgers, quesadillas, etc. Used to be everywhere around Baltimore.

      Instant artery clogging, but good.

      Ice cream sundaes would be so-so for takeout – you’d have to live close or you’d have just a big slushie by the time you got home.

      • Harrold says:

        Another victim of Private Equity.

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        It’s not often you hear the word stupendous used in relation to the size of banana splits. When you do, you know you must go to there.

      • fajensen says:

        Instant artery clogging,
        … We got Corona for that now :)

    • roddy6667 says:

      Friendly’s was huge in New England, a true icon. Founded during the Depression by two brothers. The chain has been dancing with bankruptcy for over a decade. COVID-19 isn’t responsible for its demise, but it’s a handy scapegoat.

  18. The Original Colorado Kid says:

    Eating out is overrated. I was doing the pick up at the window thing, but now where I’m at (currently W. Wyoming/E. Idaho) is having a big surge in cases. I was told Idaho was flying people to Seattle because of the hospitals being full. I’m to the point I wish I was anaerobic, even getting grocery curbside is worrisome. I’m a fairly laid back person and seldom worry about anything, but eating out is getting too risky in my book.

  19. Minutes says:

    I’m doing my best to support my local restaurants with takeout orders and will do the same through the winter. I feel bad for the servers. I hope many of the restaurants can make it through but its a tough business to begin with.

    • lenert says:

      Wouldn’t servers who work with the public, practice food service health and safety, and have to get all their orders right be good candidates to hire and train for contact tracing during a pandemic? Or would that be just dumb.

      • Martha Careful says:

        Years ago I used to be in the food business, thus in my experience, many of the low-wage, less educated, younger people who are in the capacity of serving food, aren’t exactly the people you can depend on. Nonetheless, with more modern practices and a hyper awareness of pandemic conditions, many of these people are doing a great job providing takeout food. However, there are a lot of people within that sector who are desperate for income and potentially acting as viral hosts, not unlike barbers or bartenders, who all depend on large volumes of customers. Many of these people may unwittingly or knowingly be Typhoid Mary’s, because they are vectors for a highly contagious virus. Although covid apparently doesn’t grow on food, doesn’t mean the restaurants are safe by any means.

        • BuySome says:

          The best Investment anyone can make is to shell out the fee for taking whatever “food handlers” test for certification is available from your local county’s health authority in this industry. After you ace the exam, go watch what is actually happening in those eating establishments, especially during crush hour. Which brings up another thing…remember how the old Golden Arches boxes had a side observation window to peer into the kitchen area? Recall any of them putting up venetian blinds later on? And they (at the corporate level) were the masters of laying out proper procedures on paper for all workers to follow…got to wonder about the entire array of the rest of the heap in chow slopping.

  20. Jdog says:

    Restaurants are basically nothing but terribly overpriced meals. They are only viable if you can truly relax and enjoy the experience. Covid makes that relaxation impossible.
    It is not possible to relax and think of other things when your entire field of vision is reminding you that there is a dangerous pandemic, and that every thing you do that evolves being in the proximity of other humans, increases your chances of contracting the virus.
    Every time you are in public, you increase your chances of becoming sick, and the knowledge of that is stressful.
    We are all going through a kind of psychological conditioning whether we admit it or not, and that psychological conditioning will last long after the virus is gone.

  21. Sam says:

    Gourmet burger joint (Dwtn PDX) is ramping up staff as the 4-8pm takeout #’s continue to build velocity.
    When asking ‘who’ is the heavy duty purchases going to, owners said “housecats”.
    ie the hundreds of electron wranglers (software/techies) who use to occupy the multiples of floors above their restaurant and now WFH.

    Addendum – more dwtn buildings ground level egresses being boarded up recently (on empty storefronts) than occurred previous months collectively.
    Tourists still wandering about (noted by the pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts they clutch).

  22. Petunia says:

    In my town the well off are eating well with catered food and private chefs. This has been a trend for some years in large cities and now it has gone mass market. If you can afford it, they will come and cook for you and guests, or bring and serve, take your pick.

    I almost went to a dining popup event done on private land in a rural area. It was already sold out by the time I found out about it. It was for about 50 couples, outdoor fine dining, in candlelight, and done by a well regarded chef. A real fine dining experience.

    This is the future, underground dining.

    • Minutes says:

      Lol the new Mole People with means. What a clown world we live in.

      • BuySome says:

        It would be circus tent laughable if not for the fact that our’s really are a version of Killer Clowns From Outer Space. We may all end up wrapped in currency-green colored cotton candy. Twinky-the-kid couldn’t shoot his way out of this snowball.

      • Petunia says:

        Beats getting in line at the drive thru for coffee, burgers, and pizza.

  23. Intelligent yet Idiot says:

    Looks like the French Laundry here in San Francisco has finally the solution, charging $850 per person for their indoor dinning experience. If they cant stay in business with that pricing then we have truly run out of idiots in this country.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Well actually high end dining will survive for sure. The French Laundry has a certain clientele i.e. ones who don’t think much of spending 1000 plus.

      Idiots? Nah, just some of the richest people in California/US.

      I can’t afford to eat at the French Laundry, but calling their customers idiots is an exaggeration.

      • two beers says:

        “[…]calling their customers idiots is an exaggeration.”

        True. “Psychopath” is a much more accurate description.

      • Jdog says:

        Anyone who spends $1000 for a meal, has never really worked for their money. People tend to have some level of disdain things they have not worked and sacrificed to obtain….

        • El Katz says:

          Or they have a liberal expense account……

        • Lee says:

          “Anyone who spends $1000 for a meal, has never really worked for their money.”


          Ever been to Japan?

          When I was young (and rich!!) and worked like a fool. I used to take the better half out for our anniversary dinner to some fancy hotel.

          I’d easily drop US$1000 for the taxi, dinner, and obligatory treat for the baby sitter.

          Of course that was when the yen was around 75 to 80 yen per US dollar.

          Next time you visit Japan you can have a “Course Meal” at the Nagoya Castle Hotel for only the bargain price of 48,000 yen for two which at the current rate works out to about US$480.

          (When the yen was around the 275 to 300 yen per dollar those prices in US$ weren’t so bad!!)

          Or how about here in Oz. Lot’s of fancy, expensive places to dine if you want too.

          You could easily drop A$1000 on dinner for two at these places………..

          You can try:

          Attica (never been there) and won’t ever go. Not my style.

          Flower Drum (Used to go a lot, but they changed owners and haven’t been there for a while – used to have the best roast duck and Peking Duck in Melbourne.) Lobster is A$380 a kilo on the menu now)

          O. MY – again used to go before they jacked up the prices and really limited the menu. One of the ‘cheaper’ places at $A185 per person – booze to match is another A$125 per person. Also takes too long to finish off the courses.

          Vue de Monde – started going there when they had a little corner place near Lygon Street (?) years and years ago before they zoomed up the ridiculous price ladder. No menu currently on their web site (lockdown and all), but I’d guess their ‘tasting course’ would be around A$300 per person at least or even more.

          And of course there are others such as Nobu where you’d end up paying a lot if you ate a lot………..

          And PS, the better half and I were once taken to dinner to some fancy French place out in the sticks in a resort area up in the mountains near Tateshina, Japan………….no prices on the menu.

          Later found out that the guy dropped 40,000 yen a person for the meals and booze…………so 40,000 x 4 /80 yen or so worked out to about US$2000……………..

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      @IyI – $850 is less than 1/3 share of Amazon, or 2 shares of Tesla. What’s the problem? SF has a goodly number of strange rich people.

  24. Clete says:

    My beloved wife and I have been FIRE proponents since the big crash … and we’re eating better right now than anyone I know, simply by buying in bulk and cooking at home. It’s getting a little cold to use the grill, but not cold enough to not use the grill.

    • Clete says:

      Sorry, that sounds smug. Just realizing that we weren’t big restaurant people even before the ‘rona, and that money can be used better elsewhere.

      • Jdog says:

        You can find stupid people willing to overpay for anything to attempt to bolster their egos. A wise man once wrote that your ego is the most expensive thing you will ever support.

    • Ethan in NoVA says:

      Finance Insurance Real Estate?

      • Stephen Cavaliere says:

        FIRE is also a personal finance method of saving like crazy so as to be able to retire early. I forgot what is stands for.

    • Kaleberg says:

      I used to grill during the winter in Massachusetts, sometimes even during light snowfall. I found that my Weber grill put out enough heat to cook the food and to keep me warm. I live in Washington State now, so it’s grill all year ’round.

  25. Feature on this in NYer. You can download the plans. Any of the SF hippies seeing this? Innovations these private individuals come up with, corporate America will borrow, and imagine all the major chains to remodel. There is more culture in food than in art, so we have to move forward.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Very cool kit!

      Goes together quickly and can be taken down in jig time in the event of a “peaceful protest” group equipped with fire bombs. Also, not much to steal or burn if left up.

  26. Martha Careful says:

    Covid correlates well to this period of out of control economic inequality. Never before have so many wealthy people been able to leverage themselves during such an epic global disaster — and feed at a trough filled with unlimited gains. Restaurants obviously want to stay open and cash in on the excess, regardless of public health concerns.

    American Economy; less consumption and productivity, less money per capita and exploding stock market, which robs the general population and continually enriches the wealthy, who don’t pay taxes:
    (a) US Regular All Formulations Gas Price, Dollars per Gallon, Not Seasonally Adjusted (GASREGW)

    (b) Personal Consumption Expenditures, Billions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (PCE)

    (a) Real Disposable Personal Income: Per Capita, Chained 2012 Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (A229RX0)

    (b) 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Rate, Percent, Not Seasonally Adjusted (DGS2)

    (a) Wilshire 5000 Total Market Full Cap Index, Index, Not Seasonally Adjusted (WILL5000INDFC)

  27. Anthony A. says:

    Everything is open @ 75% around these parts (40 miles north of Houston, TX) and has been for weeks. I’m just reporting in. I don’t know anyone personally that has gotten the CCP19 virus. We live in a 55+ aged community of 437 SFH’s. Our community center and swimming pool is open, with distance, mask, no. of users restrictions.

    According to my golf partner (we play weekly), his sister-in-law is a local nurse and she told him that there were about a dozen virus-infected people in the local hospitals last week, of which four large ones are within two miles of us (I’m not sure if they were in ICU or not), . The “word” is if you get the virus symptoms you go to a clinic or ER, get treated, get prescribed meds and go home to quarantine and recover, unless they have you admitted.

    Maybe this area is lucky, or maybe our population is more careful. People are wearing masks everywhere and social distancing. The bars may be the exception as they are all open too.

    Restaurants are full here, but utilizing social distancing tables and mandatory masks. On weekend nights, most diners have a 30 minute wait, even with a reservation. Some restaurants have outdoor dining areas. It’s still early Fall here and the weather is very nice.

    • Martha Careful says:

      The Woodlands area is well known for not having any problems, other than trying to cheat voters, so not a shock that everyone there is immune to a global health crisis — and the apparent crash in oil prices, is also probably a hoax?

  28. Brady Boyd says:

    I thought restaurants were going to create little bubble tents per table?

    Perhaps everyone use an Occulus for their favorite bar or restaurant to create the illusion they are eating out.

    …..if everyone kept their Vitamin D above 50 in the blood test we wouldn’t have as big of an issue.

  29. Sierra7 says:

    Let’s just hope the seasonal “flu” doesn’t “team-up” with Covid………….”morph?”

    • Lee says:

      Seasonal flu deaths in Australia plummted over the winter/spring time period here.

      NSW had something like 1000 fewer deaths from flu than last year which so far has resulted in fewer deaths overall.

      That will change over the next year or so though as deaths from other diseases and suicide/murder increase.

  30. Michael Engel says:

    1) u can do similar charts on traffic, day and night.
    2) SPX daily : the cloud is red // T&K bearish flip.

  31. Jdog says:

    Just read in Michigan, the Governor is mandating that all restaurants record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all customers.
    I am sure this will not cause any problems…..

    • tom20 says:

      The Smith family sure does like to eat out in Michigan.
      Who knew they also live with the Gov. & have the same phone #.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Most people pay with credit/debit cards or mobile devices. So the restaurant and the bank and the payment systems etc. already have this and much more information on diners, including what they ate and how much they drank.

  32. Tegnell says:

    Sweden – almost no Covid deaths for 4 months

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Deaths lag cases by 3-4 weeks. Cases started spiking 3 weeks ago. And just in time, deaths are starting to rise, and the record spike in cases shows that there is no herd immunity in Sweden. So three weeks from now, let’s look at Sweden’s deaths again:

  33. Tegnell says:

    Sweden started ‘focused protection’ in July and since then deaths have been single digits.

    Basically this is what the virologists at Stanford and Harvard who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration recommend.

    Let’s keep an eye on Sweden.

    If they don’t get a significant spike in deaths (keeping in mind they have nearly double the amount of infections per day now as compared to their initial wave) then surely we have to re-evaluate these endless, economy-destroying lock downs.

  34. Lisa_Hooker says:

    Sunday made a beef roast. Cast iron Dutch oven, low heat, 2+ hours. Browned potatoes, carrots, onions, celery. Then fresh pear and hazelnut gelato. Armagnac XO. Really appreciating the heavy copper cookware I bought 4-5 years ago. (I prefer Bourgeat to Mauviel or Falk.) Eight months and I’m a better chef than 99.8% of restaurants, although it is work. Lack of exercise and portion control becoming a problem. ;-)

    • Kasadour says:

      My mouth watered reading that. That all sounds DEE-lishus. What cut of roast? There’s a place in Portland that sells prime cut/prime rib roast. I may splurge for that if it’s available.

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