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published on February 7, 2021 - 9:04 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

 New restaurant and food businesses are opening at rates close to pre-pandemic levels, bringing hope for the economy’s future. The Annual 2020 Yelp Economic Average (YEA) report shows fourth quarter evidence that the economy could kick back.

“After a challenging year that’s tested millions of local businesses, our data shows early signs that local economies may finally be on the mend,” said Justin Norman, Yelp’s vice president of data science.

According to the YEA, the 2020 fourth quarter saw 18,207 new restaurants open — down only 4% from the previous year in the same period, and 16% over the full year.

YEA showed that a spike in new openings was partially due to successfully adapting to new business operations. Many businesses were forced to close and reopen multiple times, but new openings were determined by counting new business listings.

The study is measured by new restaurant listings on Yelp, which are added by business owners or Yelp users.

New restaurant openings plummeted by April, showing just over 3,000 openings.

The YEA showed how tourist towns suffered in the restaurant industry over the course of the year’s shutdowns and decreased travel.

“As a testament to their resilience many months into the pandemic, we saw numerous industries return to pre-pandemic rates of new openings, as well as restaurants lead in reopening during the fourth quarter of 2020,” Norman said.

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