What COVID-19 Did to Lunch
The pandemic permanently changed the power lunch
For more than 40 years, the lobby of Philadelphia’s Oyster House was stuffed with suits at lunchtime. On any given afternoon, politicians, lawyers and business executives reliably lined up to sip drinks and slurp oysters before heading back to offices.
But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Lunchtime is looking pretty different these days, said owner Sam Mink. Oyster House is only open Tuesday through Saturday now. It's not worth the expense to run service on Sundays and especially not on Mondays, when many professionals tend to work from home thanks to hybrid schedules. Fridays, which used to be the highest-grossing lunch days, have grown relatively quiet except for tourists and restaurant regulars. Mink has had to raise prices and reduce staff to try to make up the difference.
"It's definitely changed the flow of our business," Mink said. "It's changed more to diners coming out for a nice lunch, not necessarily going back to work."
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