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Changes in restaurant foot traffic by state a possible indicator of changes in attendance for out-of-home entertainment and arts.

Sense360, a consumer behavioral research consultancy, has been conducting daily analyses on the impact of Covid-19 on consumer behavior. They hold weekly webinars on developments in the restaurant, CPG, and retail industries to help companies understand and adapt to the rapidly-changing landscape during the pandemic. You can sign up for their weekly Tuesday webinars by clicking here.

In their January 12th webinar, they reported the change in restaurant foot traffic in each state during the past six weeks compared to February 2020. The decreases varied from a low of minus 16% in South Dakota [rather surprising since SD has one of the highest per capita death rates in the country, but maybe this explains it], to high of minus 62% in Maryland. Several states in the Northeast are not far behind Maryland. Generally, the Southeast, Midwest, and Heartland are showing the relatively best foot traffic.

Restaurants are the most missed out-of-home leisure activity for most Americans. Recent surveys consistently show that people’s comfort visiting restaurants is 50% to 100% higher than to out-of-home entertainment venues. Keeping that adjustment in mind, restaurant foot traffic could be a reasonable indicator for the different states of current location-based entertainment and arts attendance compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s the breakdown for restaurant foot traffic declines by state, from the smallest decrease in traffic to the highest decline.


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About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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