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How Remote Work Has Changed The Restaurant Industry

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November 10, 2023

There has been plenty of talk in recent years about the influence of the remote work environment on both companies and employees. Based on a recent statistic by Zippia, 27 percent of people in the U.S. currently work entirely remotely, and they project that 36.2 million U.S. employees will be working remotely by 2025.

4 Ways Work from Home Has Changed Restaurants

Restaurants are interconnected with their community, so any shift within the customer base creates ripple effects within the food service industry. As remote work has emerged, food establishments have also adapted.

1. The 9 to 5 Has Shifted 

Pre-2020 and before a larger remote work base emerged, restaurants could expect some pretty typical rushes: early morning commuter coffee, weekday lunch, and post-work happy hours. Workers looking for a quick bite near their building midday and a good cocktail at a bargain at 5:00 p.m. were staples. 

With fewer workers inhabiting company buildings regularly, restaurants see less predictable day-time traffic. However, that doesn't mean that sales aren’t up. A report from Restaurant Business Online shows that weekly lunch checks were up 49 percent for dine-in and 42 percent for to-go during the first quarter of 2023 compared to 2019. A surprising number when you consider that major cities in the U.S. saw a 23 to 16 percent negative guest count overall in Q1 this year vs. 2019.

Weekly lunch checks are up 49%

2. Weekend Restaurant Traffic is Rapidly Growing

With people working from home Monday through Friday, weekends are becoming booming restaurant scenes. Why? People are looking to get out of their homes (aka) workspaces to enjoy some downtime and a change of scenery. In urban centers, especially, restaurants can expect to see a minimal 5 to 7 percent foot-traffic gap in weekend dining compared to 2019.

3. Living Rooms are the New Lunchrooms 

There is no doubt that food to-go has increased since work-from-home has become the norm. In fact, takeout orders were up 20 percent in Q1 2023 from Q1 2019. Remote workers still want the convenience of a pre-made meal so they can return to work quickly, even when it’s from their home.

4. To-Go Happy Hours are a Thing

Liquor laws have changed over the past few years, and remote workers are reaping the benefits. Many states have extended their takeout liquor laws, which means customers can order great cocktails with their takeaway meals and have a private happy hour at home.

How Restaurants Can Capitalize on Remote Worker Habits 

Remote workers are here to stay, which means understanding their habits and desires means any establishment can tailor menus and experiences directly to them.

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The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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