Dining at San Francisco restaurants has plummeted by 91%

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 30: Parklet at Mochica, 1469 18th Street in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Due to indoor dining being prohibited due to coronavirus pandemic, many San (Getty Images)

New data about San Francisco's world-renowned dining scene shows that the industry is starving for customers. Sales in high-end restaurants to hole-in-the-wall eateries have fallen by 91% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the city's Chamber of Commerce. 

The data, which was collected using credit card information and reported by Eater, does not include cash exchanges. Some restaurants in the city are open for outdoor dining, and many offer takeout food, but these sales constitute a mere fraction of pre-pandemic sales.

“The job that I had, it has now changed pretty dramatically,” said Desiree Tatarazuk, a laid off server at a San Francisco steakhouse. “The server is wearing a mask, and I think also gloves, but when people eat, they can't wear a mask. So it's just a very weird sort of environment to consider working in now.”

Tatarazuk said that after she was laid off from her restaurant job, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to get a job in outdoor dining due to safety concerns.

At the start of the pandemic, restaurant closures and staff layoffs left many service workers wondering how to pay the bills. And servers working in outdoor dining have had to adjust to a new, potentially fraught work environment with dubious safety as people don’t uniformly wear masks, and workers often come quite close to diners to collect silverware and plates.