New Chicago restaurant data shows good and bad news

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Local restaurants are asking for more pandemic relief in the same week, a new national report says restaurant sales are rebounding.

Why is this important: Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic, but restaurants and takeout/delivery saw big gains in late 2021.

  • Toast’s Restaurant Trends Report used aggregate restaurant sales data on its platform to find that Q4 sales in 2021 were 52% higher than 2020 levels and 4% higher than pre-levels. the pandemic.
  • This push even includes a month of December which saw the Omicron variant impose tighter restrictions on interior spaces.

Methodology: The report looked at regions, not states or cities, so this data reflects the entire Midwest. Other findings include:

  • Dinner at the restaurant: + 55% compared to 2020.
  • Fast food: +30% compared to 2020.
  • Takeout and delivery: up 59% from pre-pandemic levels.

Yes, but: Chicago restaurants lost customers again during Omicron. According to a survey by the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), 58% of businesses said their sales fell by more than 50% in December 2021.

  • “Anyone will tell you that over the last three or four months we’ve seen our business drop drastically,” chef Rick Bayless told Fox 32 in early February.

Driving the news: The IRC is calling on President Biden and the two U.S. Senators to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund created in 2021.

What they say : “Many restaurants and bars are pushing back bankruptcy filings and eviction notices every day while doing everything they can to keep their business running,” IRC executive director Erika told Axios. Polmar.

  • “There’s not much time left.”

And after: With the indoor mask mandate lifted next week, restaurants are hoping pre-pandemic dine-in levels will return.

💭 Justin’s thought bubble: I used Resy to look up reservations for next Saturday. A quick anecdotal survey of 10 top restaurants revealed no openings.

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