Remember the pandemic? What a difference 3 years make

The restaurant industry is entering a new year with more distance from the bleakest days of the crisis than the calendar might suggest.

Turning the calendar page to a new year is often the time for a reality check. Where’s the restaurant industry in January 2023? And how do expectations for the next 12 months stack up against recollections of the past 12?

There’s no shortage of opinions on what’s ahead for the business. But one thing seems to be a point of agreement: We’re far from the cliff’s edge of three years ago, when the world was first hearing of this strange and aggressive killer called COVID-19.

Forgotten how eerie and daunting those times were? This week’s edition of Restaurant Rewind takes listeners back to the last blissful days of ignorance for an industry that was about to be walloped. Host and Editor At Large Peter Romeo reminds listeners of the business’ disbelief that such a thing could happen, and how far it’s come from those grim days.

Download this and every episode of Restaurant Rewind from wherever you get your podcasts.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


How Popeyes changed the chicken business

How did a once-struggling, regional bone-in chicken chain overtake KFC, the formerly dominant player in the U.S. market? With a fixation on sandwiches and many more new restaurants.


Get ready for a summertime value war

The Bottom Line: With more customers opting to eat at home, rather than at restaurants, more fast-food chains will start pushing value this summer.


Inside Chili's quest to craft a value-priced burger that could take on McDonald's

Behind the Menu: How the casual-dining chain smashes expectations with a winning combination of familiarity and price with its new Big Smasher burger.


More from our partners