January 14, 2021
Cristina Sandoval

How did Restaurants Survive the Pandemic?

Restaurants where the hardest hit sector during the pandemic, how have they faired nearly 1 year later

This past holiday season we reflected on the challenges the pandemic brought and decided to build this dashboard to better understand it's economic impact on various sectors. With this tool, we can monitor the ongoing effects and gather insights on ways to move forward in 2021.

The data shows us that the food and restaurant industry was the hardest hit of all. But we also learned that in spite of the challenges,  business owners in this sector are responding with an increased use of online platforms, new marketing strategies, and additional food delivery services.

The datasets were pulled from public sources made available by the US Census, Yelp and OpenTable. And while the current view is specific to the food service industry, the filters allow you to change the industry in view.


When compared to other sectors, businesses in food services and restaurants reported negative effects at higher rates than other industries in

several national indexes.

Current Snapshot

We looked at OpenTable's State of the Industry report and used the datasets to see how restaurants have fared this year compared to last year.

We also observed progress in the industry by focusing on restaurants that are reopening following mandatory orders to either close, modify services and hours, or limit seating capacity in different states.

Delivery or Pick-Up

The food service industry reported an increased use of online platforms and growing adoption of food delivery services during the pandemic. This prompted a fun exercise to see what delivery options are available by state, city, and cuisine. We connected to Yelp's Open API and ran a search for restaurants offering either pick-up or delivery service. Using 'City, ST' for location, our query included every town in 15 states and the District of Colombia, returning 10,000 locations.


Small business owners were asked about the actions they can take to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. In the food service sector, small businesses reported needing to obtain financial assistance, increase marketing or sales, and identifying or hiring new employees. Select the sector that interests you to see how small businesses intend to respond within the next 6 months. See below for a historical view on the evolving needs in that sector.

Cristina Sandoval

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