Yelp: Delivery and take-out twice as popular as usual amid coronavirus

Yelp: Delivery and take-out twice as popular as usual amid coronavirus
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Delivery and take-out options are twice as popular as usual amid the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Yelp.

Yelp said the development grew when people were first urged to avoid large crowds and then accelerated when restaurants were shuttered and forced to offer only delivery or take-out.

“Consumers are responding to fears of infection, social distancing recommendations, and mandated business closures by getting their food from grocery stores or directly from farmers, not from higher-end restaurants," wrote Carl Bialik, Yelp’s data science editor. "When people do turn to restaurants, it’s overwhelmingly for delivery or takeout, not for dine-in options that until just a week ago were prevalent."

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The restaurant industry has been turned on its head during the pandemic, with consumer interest in restaurants falling 54 percent, while appetite for fast food institutions and grocery stores shot up 64 percent and 102 percent, respectively.

The items with the biggest upticks in consumer interest are water and guns, which jumped 166 percent and 360 percent, respectively.

Yelp’s data showed that the changes in consumer interest are more pronounced in the Northeast and more muted in the Midwest and Southeast. 

The shifts come as people are urged to avoid groups of more than 10 and to perform “social distancing,” or staying six feet away from others, as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

More than 18,500 people have confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 214 people have died as of Friday evening, according to The New York Times’s tally.