coming back from covid

Foot Traffic at Restaurants in California, Bay Area Soars in 2021: Report

Since Jan. 1, San Jose dining visits are up 192%, SF's are up 121%, far above the national average of 57%

Bloomberg via Getty Images

What to Know

  • Restaurant foot traffic is up 192% in San Jose, 121% in SF since Jan. 1
  • On average nationwide, restaurant foot traffic is up 57%
  • Dining establishments are struggling to hire workers and operating with 20% less staff than usual

Foot traffic at retail and restaurant establishments in the Bay Area and California are soaring in 2021, according to a new report, a sign people are ready to get back to normal even as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.

Zenreach, a San Francisco-based technology marketing and research firm, reports retail, restaurant and entertainment establishments in California have seen a 120% increase in foot traffic since the start of the year, and visits to restaurants and dining establishments alone are up 145%.

By comparison, the national average increases are 55% in all industries and 57% in restaurants only.

In the Bay Area, San Jose has seen a 182% increase in all industry foot traffic and a 192% increase for restaurants only. San Francisco's foot traffic is up 128% in all industries and 121% in restaurants alone.

The pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard, dropping 2.5 million jobs in 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Overall, restaurants have added jobs in 2021, but the unemployment rate for restaurant workers is still above the national average even as many establishments continue to operate short-handed and struggle to hire workers.

The National Restaurant Association has found that nearly half of restaurants are operating with 20% less staff than usual.

During the pandemic, many restaurants had to resort to takeout service only then were able to add strictly outdoor dining and limited indoor dining to their offerings as the state's gradual recovery began.

In early June, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will continue allowing restaurants to sell takeout alcohol and keep expanded outdoor dining through the end of the year.

The Associated Press and CNBC contributed to this report.

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