Demand for Outdoor Dining Last Month Was on Par With Demand in September 2020

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Courtesy of Yeah Burger.

Customers wanted to dine outside this past September almost as much as they wanted to in September 2020, according to a new survey from the National Restaurant Association that polled 4,000 operators.

In the survey, 65% of restaurant operators say they offered outdoor dining in September, up from 57% in April 2021 and roughly on par with the 67% who offered it in September 2020. According to the association, the increase in demand for outdoor dining was caused by the delta variant.

With the outdoor dining season winding down for many restaurants, that increase may be of concern to some operators as it accounts for a large chunk of sales. For 35% of operators that offer outdoor dining, they say it accounts for more than 40% of their daily sales, and for 15% of operators, outdoor dining represents more than 70% of their daily sales.

In the association’s survey, 54% of operators say they only will be able to continue offering outdoor seating for one or two more months, though 36% of operators say they plan to continue offering outdoor seating throughout fall and winter.



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