QUESTION OF THE DAY

John:

In looking at your chart of openings and closings of restaurants and approximating the number each during 2007-16, it looks like there are now 72 more restaurants here than in 2006.  I counted roughly 459 openings and 387 closings.  You will have the actual numbers that generated your chart.  How can they all stay in business?

Happy New Year!

Mike

Mike,

That’s a great question and a good approximation! The actual number is a net gain of 70 restaurants in the last decade. Maybe readers could offer some ideas?

John

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6 Responses to QUESTION OF THE DAY

  1. Ken D says:

    Some ideas to explain more restaurants in S.B. with little population gain (?)…

    Generally people are eating out more and purchasing more prepared food to eat at home. Growing acceptance of different cuisines/flavors and service formats is leading to more diversification of the restaurant market:

    1. More specialty menu focus, e.g. small plate, specialty Asian (noodle, ramen, etc), tapas, BBQ, healthy, etc.
    2. Smaller operations that can survive with either lower avg. sales volume (e.g. fast-casual w/ counter and sit-down service), or high average check (e.g. gourmet chef-inspired).
    3. More foodservice offerings at bars, hotels, public market, etc.
    4. Walk-ups and pop-ups.

    All good trends meaning more choices for residents and tourists, and sustained health of the local restaurant market.

    Ken D.

  2. Whirl says:

    I’m not sure the math works out correctly when there are several locations that have turned over multiple times, sometimes in the same year. But we do have some new areas like the Funk Zone and the Hollister Park out past Camino Real Marketplace that have definitely added new locations beyond just turning over old ones.

  3. Foodie Dan says:

    Well, the economy has improved, extra money for food out. A lot of new building being done. 2017 will be interesting.

  4. Brendan says:

    It would be interesting to see stats on the longevity of places that have opened in the last 10 years. I’m assuming these numbers include everything in the guide, not just actual restaurants? So some of it may be a trickle of new things like coffee shops opening in places that previously had non-food retail.

    I do think certain places have seen particularly large concentrations of new eateries. The SB Public Market alone has added at least 5 (not counting a couple that closed and have yet to be replaced, and also not counting places like Rori’s that don’t sell “real food”). The Funk Zone has probably added at least 3 or 4 (although also lost at least one).

    Tourism has ramped up in the waterfront/Funk Zone area as the Funk Zone wine-tasting scene has exploded as a destination for weekenders. Cruise ship visits have also increased substantially in the past few years. So there is steady demand for places to eat. But I’m curious what physical space these new places occupy. Aside from concentrated areas of new construction (like SBPM or the Funk Zone), I can think of several restaurants that closed down and were replaced by non-food businesses, but it’s hard to think of many that did the reverse (except for coffee shops and such places with more limited food offerings).

  5. LoFiGirl says:

    All this and STILL no good vegan restaurants. Not enough vegan and vegetarian options for a coastal California town. Not good. We need some good natural food, and now that the Soj is gone it’s just Natural Cafe? Last time I ate at Natural Cafe it was awful, bland, no flavor, so undercooked as to be nearly raw. Really bad. Someone please step in and give us a good veggie/vegan friendly restaurant! We NEED it.

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