More than half the restaurants closed due to the pandemic are shut down for good, Yelp says

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As states have moved to reopen nonessential businesses in recent months, many restaurants still haven't turned the lights back on, and more than half of them never will.

The alarming statistic came out of Yelp's latest Economic Average report, released Wednesday. The review service's quarterly bulletin revealed that 60% of the restaurants that temporarily shuttered due to the pandemic have since permanently closed.

As of July 10, there were 26,160 total restaurant closures on Yelp, and 15,770 of those are shut down for good, Yelp said. Many shifted to curbside pickup and online ordering in recent months, but those measures weren't enough to sustain the business long term, the review platform found.

The coronavirus-induced business climate has hit bars and nightlife establishments hard, too. Of all the bars listed on Yelp, 5,454 are closed, and 2,429 (44%) of those are permanent shutdowns.

Yelp is among the most popular business directories in the U.S., and is used by people seeking user commentary on local establishments. The app is positioned to capture trends that happen across the small business landscape before, after and during the pandemic.

3/8 The latest news wasn't all grim.

Consumers are returning to some pre-pandemic spending behaviors. Within the restaurant category, German cuisine, live and raw food, French food and steakhouses saw a rise in consumer interest since June 1, Yelp found. Also since then, people have been keen on alcohol-related experiences. Interest in wineries was up 51% while breweries saw a 24% rise.

Interest in Black-owned businesses remains high, Yelp said. Black entrepreneurs have gotten a boost in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd gripped the nation. Searches for Black-owned restaurants are up 2,508% on Yelp.

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