Jan 31, 2024 - News

Phoenix sees post-COVID restaurant boom

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

The number of new restaurant listings in metro Phoenix rose 12% between 2019 and 2023, per new Yelp data.

Why it matters: Restaurants are more than just places to grab a meal — they're gathering spots for families and communities, vital employers across the socioeconomic spectrum and key swaths of the cultural fabric that makes cities unique.

By the numbers: Nearly 800 restaurants were newly listed on Yelp in 2023 in the Valley, compared with 714 in 2019.

The big picture: Nationally, the restaurant industry is showing signs of life after a brutal stretch brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Nearly 53,800 restaurants opened their doors across the country last year, up 10% from 2022.
  • Another way of looking at that figure: It's up 2% from 2019, meaning there's been a slight increase in openings compared with pre-pandemic times.

What they're saying: "The restaurant industry has proven to be resilient throughout the pandemic, with the industry seeing higher restaurant openings in 2023 than pre-pandemic levels for the first time," says Clifford Cate, vice president and general manager of restaurants at Yelp.

  • "Even through economic challenges, restaurant owners continue to delight their diners, staying responsive to shifts in consumer preferences, like the increasing demand for earlier reservation times and higher-end experiences."
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