Jan 29, 2024 - News

Restaurants rebound in Denver post-pandemic, but struggles persist

Data: Yelp; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Yelp; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of new restaurant listings in the Denver metro area rose 6.8% in 2023 compared to 2019, according to new Yelp data.

Why it matters: Despite post-pandemic inflation pains and labor shortages, Denver's restaurants remained on a roll.

By the numbers: 569 restaurants in the Mile High City were newly listed on Yelp in 2023, compared to 533 in 2019.

  • New businesses overall in the Denver area rose 18% from 2019.
  • Across Colorado, 930 restaurants opened, marking a nearly 8% jump from 2022 to 2023.

Yes, but: More than 220 restaurants in Denver closed last year — and more shutdowns are expected in 2024, CBS4 reports.

What they're saying: "It's going to be a tough year, and you're going to see a lot of restaurants struggling," Colin Larson, director of government affairs with the Colorado Restaurant Association, told the news station.

  • "Restaurants are really struggling to hire people, even though they're paying more than they ever have," Larson said.

The big picture: Nationally, the restaurant industry is showing signs of life after a brutal stretch brought on by the pandemic, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • Nearly 53,800 restaurants opened their doors across the country last year, up 10% from 2022 and 2% from 2019, Yelp data shows.
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