Restaurants and bars in major cities are still struggling to attract the same crowds on Mondays and Fridays as they did before COVID, according to a new report, with many office workers continuing to work from home on those days.
Entertainment operators in the business districts of major cities say that while things are essentially back to normal on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the start and end of the week are still lagging, according to CNBC.
Many blame the persistence and popularity of hybrid work arrangements, which have made working three days in the office the norm for many white-collar workers.
A survey last month found that 40% of workers nationwide are still working fully remote or hybrid, with the average annual drop in near-the-office spending more than $4,000 per worker in New York. , DC and Los Angeles has dropped.
“Even though you may be busy on Wednesdays and Thursdays, your Mondays and Fridays can be very slow,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told CNBC.
Restaurants and bars in major cities are still struggling to attract the same crowds on Mondays and Fridays as they did before COVID due to three-day hybrid work weeks (stock image)
Of all US full-time employees, 40% work entirely remotely or in a hybrid arrangement
New York had seen the largest drop in average annual spending per person near the office, with a drop of $4,661
“If someone were to walk by a restaurant on a Thursday around lunch or dinner time, they might say, ‘Wow, that restaurant is packed, they’re so busy,’ but it’s not like that every day,” he added.
When the COVID pandemic hit in May 2020, more than 61% of people were working from home – a number that has only halved despite the country’s attempts to get back on their feet.
Prior to the pandemic, the home-working rate was just 4.7%, a big difference that has experts worried about the continued impact across many industries.
Now, almost three years after the outbreak of the pandemic, data has been collected by WFH research found that the level of working from home remains six times higher than before.
And this level rises to nearly 50 percent of all employees who insist on working remotely in major metropolitan areas, such as New York and Washington DC.
While the convenience and savings in commuting costs and time are significant for employees, the trend has been tough for businesses in many major boroughs.
Last month, Manhattan’s only Ruth’s Chris Steak House location announced it would close after 30 years, when its lease expired and the parent company decided not to renew.
DC has seen the largest reduction in on-site workdays since the pandemic
The hospitality industry still struggles to adapt to changes in labor trends (stock image)
As the hospitality industry continues to struggle and high inflation continues to shift spending patterns, the persistence of hybrid and telecommuting concerns some economists.
“It affected so many things,” Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economist and WFH researcher, told The Hill.
‘It affects the structure of the city. It affects the days of the week when people play sports: golf, tennis. It affects the retail industry.’
The researcher said remote work is impacting spending in some cities as former industrial centers fail to return to their former glory.
In New York, Bloom said, the city’s treasuries will see “about $12 billion less spending in midtown Manhattan,” the center of the city’s financial sector.
WFH research’s survey found that New York had seen the largest drop in average annual spending per person near the office, with a drop of $4,661.
That was followed by Los Angeles at $4,200, Washington DC at $4,051 and Atlanta at $3,938.
Remote work peaked early in the pandemic and remains well above pre-pandemic standards
Following the pandemic’s work-from-home boom, which forced a majority of workers to avoid the office, the following two years saw companies gradually push to adopt back-office living.
But hybrid and remote working have proven popular and persistent, with 12.7% of all full-time workers staying completely at home in the first month of 2023.
The city leading the way in home-based workers is Washington DC, with WFH Research finding that the nation’s capital saw a 37% reduction in in-person days in the office.
This was closely followed by Atlanta at 34.9%, Phoenix at 34.1%, and Los Angeles at 32.9%.