Now that most social restrictions have ended, spending at American restaurants and fast food chains has rebounded quickly from pandemic lows.
Indeed, according to data from The NPD / CREST Group, in August, spending rose 9% from the previous year to $ 440 billion.
But, new restrictions could now be introduced in some sites. Some major US cities, including New York and San Francisco, are already requiring customers to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to dine indoors.
As of August 17, New York City introduced a warrant to verify proof of vaccination. This has been in effect since September 13 and so far over 2,000 warnings and 6 fines have been issued to companies that have not verified this.
San Francisco has required proof of vaccine status since August 20, and Washington will require restaurants to verify vaccine status from October 25.
Some chains have announced that they could close their seats completely, which could have a major impact on their sales.
For example, 8 McDonald’s locations in New York City have closed their seats indoors so far. The company’s franchisees are currently assessing each store on a case-by-case basis and taking into account various factors, such as cases of COVID-19, staff levels and local regulations.
“We continue to closely monitor the Delta variant and, as we have done over the past 18 months, remain able to adapt quickly while maintaining our safety standards,” the company said.
Another restaurant that is closing seating sections in New York City is the White Castle burger chain. The company stopped providing the ability to eat at 20 of its locations last month.
This follows New York City’s decision to require clients over the age of 12 to show their immunization status before eating indoors.
By not having the dining options available, many restaurants were forced to rely on other options for ordering, such as delivery, take-out or drive-thru. While these are often more cost effective, as they reduce labor costs, this could be of concern for the industry in the long run.