Emerging Brands

Restaurant development surged to a new high in 2023

The data from the online dining guide Yelp shows that restaurants opened at a faster rate last year than they did in pre-pandemic 2019, led by Mexican restaurants and pubs.
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Restaurant development surged last year, according to Yelp. | Photo: Shutterstock

Restaurant development surpassed pre-pandemic levels last year, with openings topping the 2022 level by 10% to set an all-time expansion record, according to data compiled by the Yelp online dining guide.

The service’s researchers cited the findings as indications that a number of market sectors and geographic areas that fared particularly badly during the COVID crisis have regained their footing.

New York City and its namesake home state, for instance, suffered devastating economic damage during the health crisis. In 2023, the city saw more openings than any other urban center, with 4,739 additions, and New York was fourth on the state ranking.

The statistics also show a significant expansion of sectors that were still relatively new in pre-pandemic 2019. For instance, the fledgling breakfast and brunch segment, or what’s been dubbed the daytime dining market, grew by early 6,000 restaurants, behind only Mexican restaurants, bars and sandwich shops.

Similarly, Chinese hot spot restaurants increased in number by 53%. And that surge was eclipsed by a 63% leap in the tally of creperies.

The rankings are not a perfect reflection of industry expansion because the only additions factored into the compilations are establishments added to Yelp’s listings by its personnel and users of the guide.

Even with a 10% jump in the nation’s inventory of restaurants, or five times the increase of 2019, the industry was only eighth on Yelp’s ranking of trades by their outlet growth during 2023. The Number One slot was taken by hotels and travel businesses, followed by events services and automotive services.

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