D.C. diners are still wary of restaurant dining, survey says
D.C. diners are more cautious than most of the country when it comes to eating out during the pandemic, OpenTable data shows.
Why it matters: The District is behind other major cities in catching up to pre-pandemic restaurant reservation levels. Maryland and Virginia are also seeing fewer OpenTable reservations, but the commonwealth is faring better than the rest of the DMV.
- Of note: The OpenTable figures exclude reservations booked through other services, individual restaurants, and walk-ins.
The big picture: On top of fewer customers, staffing, and product shortages, the restaurant industry faces overwhelming uncertainty.
- The Omicron surge was the latest industry setback. While it seems to be subsiding, experts have already warned of new variants in the future.
By the numbers: A (unscientific) survey of our readers found that 53% of over 400 respondents prioritized eating outside at restaurants, and of that group, many are only ordering takeout during the colder months.
- “I'm not comfortable with the risk of being indoors with unmasked people,” one respondent said. “Thanks to being cautious, I've managed to avoid getting COVID all this time.”
Yes, but: Some Virginia restaurantgoers are avoiding the District thanks to COVID restrictions.
- “The DC rules are so onerous that we have just been going out in VA. It's such a bummer. I miss D.C. so much, but it's just not fun anymore and not worth the hassle when we can go out easily and mask-free in VA,” a respondent said.
On the bright side, our survey also found that 81% of respondents have increased their tips since the pandemic began.
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