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The Impact of the Gov't Shutdown on DC's Restaurants

Photo: khawkins04 / Flickr
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

The government shutdown is over after a whopping fifteen days, and the restaurant scene in DC has certainly felt the burden. Mayor Vincent Gray said in a press conference that restaurant business in the city is down about 7.6 percent for the first week of October, Eater DC reports. Apparently that figure comes from a survey of over 70 restaurants.

Foursquare analyzed DC area check-ins during the first two weeks of the shutdown and found several interesting trends. In terms of dining out, Foursquare saw "an immediate negative effect on many small businesses" as people stopped going to coffee shops and inexpensive restaurants.

Expensive restaurant attendance declined into the second week of the shutdown. Bar check-ins were up by over 50 percent in the first week of the shutdown, but "returned back to or below pre-shutdown levels." Foursquare concludes that during the first week of the shutdown people were "living it up as if on an unexpected vacation," but "activity dramatically shifted" in the second week. Hopefully the DC restaurant scene will recover quickly.

· Restaurants Down 7.6% [Eater DC]
· From Our Data [Foursquare]
· All Shutdown Coverage on Eater [-E-]