Chef’s Pencil has analyzed Google Adwords data for restaurants-related searches for the largest 50 cities in the US. Period analyzed was January 2020 (last standard-length month prior to the pandemic) through March 2021. | Photo courtesy Chef's Pencil

Study: El Paso 4th among cities with Fastest Recovering Restaurants

A new report on the rebound of the restaurant industry nationwide, shows that the Sun City is tops among cities with the fastest-recovering restaurants.

Chef’s Pencil analyzed the search volumes for restaurant-related searches for the largest 50 cities in the US to identify those cities where demand was highest and lowest compared to the pre-pandemic period.

“To that extent, we compared restaurant-related searches from March 2021 to January 2020, the last standard-length month before the pandemic started,” researchers shared.

Restaurant-related searches in El Paso were up 87% Year over year in March 2021 and up 67% compared to January 2020.

Researchers say that the most popular local searches were for Chinese restaurants followed by Mexican and fast-food joints. Among the chains, McDonald’s had the most local searches, followed by Subway, Wingstop, and Whataburger.

While still not fully out of the woods, researchers say the restaurant industry can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Staff shortages are problematic in El Paso, as in many parts of the country, and are slowing down a return to 100% capacity,” report officials stated. “This is not an easy fix, though a much better problem to have than lockdowns and lack of customers.”

Below are the cities with the fastest recovery:

1 Las Vegas, NV 81%
2 Memphis, TN 79%
3 San Antonio, TX 71%
4 El Paso, TX 67%
5 Virginia Beach, VA 66%

According to Google Adwords data, March saw the best sales month since the start of the pandemic, as a record number of 133 million Google searches were made in March 2021 for restaurants near me and related terms such as breakfast places near me, Chinese restaurants near me, Taco Bell near me, etc.

However researchers add that the record growth in restaurant-related searches was not evenly distributed geographically.

“Southern cities and top tourist destinations like Miami, Las Vegas, and Virginia Beach lead the charts, while places like New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. continue to see demand below pre-pandemic levels,” researchers added.

To read the full report, click here.