C-Suite Wednesday – Unique Experience Focused Dining is Rising in Popularity

July 6, 2022

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

C-Suite Wednesday – Unique Experience Focused Dining is Rising in Popularity

Change in searches on Yelp, Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2020

“The restaurant industry is going through a period of unprecedented change, accelerated by the pandemic and this year punctuated by record inflation,” reads a recent Yelp Economic Average report. “While 2020 was a turbulent year, 2021 proved to be a transitional year for restaurants, and Yelp data reveals that 2022 promises to turn the tables for the industry.”

• As a result of the labor shortage, the number of reviews mentioning short staffing had a 229% increase in the first quarter of 2022 when compared to the first quarter of 2021.
• There was also a 23% increase in reviews mentioning long waiting times during the first quarter of 2022.
• Yelp also identified a 25% increase in reviews mentioning higher prices in Q1 2022.
• Reviews mentioning increased prices were up 25%.
• Compared to Q1 2021, searches for outdoor seating increased by more than 1,000% (1,060% increase) in Q2 2022, and searches for indoor seating in Q1 2022 also saw a significant increase (6,360% increase) in the number of searches in Q1 2021.
• As more people shift to on-site dining, fewer people (31% less than in Q1 2021) are searching for takeout, though takeout continues to be more popular than it was during pre-pandemic times.
• Searches for takeout are up 107% compared to the first quarter of 2020 and up 144% from the first quarter of 2019.
• Restaurants that also focus on unique dining experiences are opening at high rates. Compared to Q1 2022, conveyer belt sushi (up 500%), dinner theatres (up 240%), internet cafes (up 200%), supper clubs (200%), and themed cafes (up 75%) are on the rise.

Change in business openings on Yelp, Jan – Apr 2022 vs. Jan – Apr 2021

“As people continue to re-enter ‘normal’ life, many diners are returning to dining and restaurants are eager to welcome them back.”

Yelp Economic Average Report