New Data Shows Diners in Popular Dining Cities Plan to Return to Restaurants for Holiday Gatherings, Citing Increased Comfort Levels – and Restaurants Are Relying on Their Business
- 69% of US adults in 20 popular dining cities (see methodology below), 83% of London adults, and 81% of Sydney adults surveyed plan to dine out around the holidays
- Thanksgiving 2021 reservations booked on Resy are up 174% compared to Thanksgiving 2020
- 78% of small businesses owners surveyed say holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022
November 18, 2021 – The busiest time of the year for restaurants, the holiday season, is expected to get back on track in 2021 as consumers surveyed cite increased comfort in dining out. According to The Resy Holiday Dining Snapshot, diners surveyed in select US cities are more comfortable dining out this holiday season (66% of US diners in select cities), compared to last year (42% of US diners in select cities). With this greater comfort, they plan on hitting the town with 69% of the US adults surveyed saying they plan on dining out around the holidays with even more planning to dine out in London (83%) and Sydney (81%). And, they want to support their go-tos – ‘favorite restaurants’ are the top type of restaurant those surveyed are wanting to eat at this holiday season.
“The consumer data is encouraging,” says Alex Lee, Vice President and General Manager, Resy and the American Express Global Dining Network. “Dining demand is back and signals indicate this momentum will continue through the holiday season, which is very welcomed news for an industry that has been hit so hard – but as diners we have to double down and support restaurants. Behind the scenes restaurant owners are navigating rising costs and shrinking margins. It is still an uphill battle for most restaurants.”
Record-High October Dining Activity Sets the Stage for the Holiday Season
In line with dining trends from The Resy Holiday Dining Snapshot, Resy’s own booking data shows that dining activity across the US reached its highest levels since pre-pandemic in October 2021 and the top 25 busiest days in Resy history were Saturdays in the last 6 months. At the close of October, bookings on the Resy platform – including US, UK and AUS – reached 91% of pre-Covid levels; NYC reached nearly 100% of October 2019 levels and cities including Charleston, Austin, Atlanta, Dallas Fort-Worth, Boston and Miami all exceeded October 2019 levels.
The positive trends documented during October are continuing into November, setting the stage for what restaurant owners hope will be a strong holiday season. As of November 1, 2021, Thanksgiving Day reservations booked on Resy are up 174% compared to Thanksgiving Day reservations in 2020 and significantly more restaurants have reservations on the books this year (+112%).
When looking ahead at Resy bookings in New York City for the month of December, as of November 1, 2021 already three times the number of reservations have been made compared to the previous year, and double the number of restaurants are accepting reservations.
Restaurants Are Banking on Diner Support During – and Post – Holiday Season
Though consumers are back to dining out, small restaurants are facing daunting challenges due in large part to increased food and labor costs. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, profitability is down from pre-pandemic levels with 85% of operators saying their profit margin is lower than it was prior to COVID-19. Additionally, according to the American Express Shop Small Impact survey conducted in October 2021, 78% of small businesses say that holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022 — but the good news is, 80% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to ‘Shop Small’ this holiday season.
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Lauren Young, Resy – Lauren.Young1@resy.com
Resy is a hospitality technology platform that powers restaurants around the world and a consumer-facing reservation platform for passionate diners. Since its inception in 2014, Resy has created best-in-class software that elevates dining experiences and connects restaurants to a growing network of highly-engaged diners, with the powerful backing of American Express. Resy is a go-to destination for restaurant discovery, exclusive access, original content, and chef-driven culinary events. The amazing world of restaurants is just a few taps away in the Resy app and at Resy.com.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This release includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “goal,” “intend,” “plan,” “aim,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in American Express’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. American Express undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.
 The Resy Holiday Dining Snapshot provides insight into how consumers are preparing for dining out this holiday season, including their comfort level dining, reservation plans and motivation for dining out. Data was sourced across 20 US cities along with London, UK and Sydney, AU.
This Morning Consult poll was conducted between October 12-27th, 2021 and sampled 100 adults from 20 US dining cities* plus London, UK and Sydney, AUS for a total sample size of 2,200. The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted within each DMA to approximate a target sample of Adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race/ethnicity, and region. US results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Due to small base size, comparison of results across DMAs from the survey should only be used on a directional basis. *Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C.
 The American Express Shop Small Impact Study consisted of two studies conducted by Teneo on behalf of American Express. The consumer survey was an anonymous online survey conducted from October 13-18, 2021 among a sample of 1,013 adults 18 years of age and older and weighted based on U.S. Census data. The small business owner survey was conducted online among a sample of 523 small business owners/managers in the U.S. from October 12-19, 2021. Respondent companies must conduct sales in a physical location in one of the following industries: arts/entertainment/recreation, retail trade, restaurant/bar/coffee shop/hotel/hospitality, or personal services.