America is Closed for Late-Night 🍔

The number of stores open 24/7 has significantly dropped post-pandemic. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are no exceptions.
April 9, 2024
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Are you a person who frequently waits until the wee hours to get groceries, hit the gym, or look for a late-night snack?

Then, you’re pretty much out of luck.

Stores around the country are less open at night than they were pre-pandemic:

  • Walmart and Hy-Vee never returned to 24/7 hours after the pandemic ended
  • Most Planet Fitness and 24-Hour Fitness gyms are no longer open 24/7
  • Walgreens and CVS cut back on their 24/7 locations

However, late-night dining options have been hit the hardest. According to data from Yelp, the number of restaurants open 24/7 dropped 18% from 2020 to 2024. Not even major metropolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have been spared – losing 13%, 35%, and 10% of their late-night eateries, respectively, during the same period.

Heck, even this Waffle House, an establishment known for being open 24/7, was forced to close its doors at 9 p.m.

The increase in food costs, up 25% since Mar. 2020, and wages, up 29% between mid-2019 and mid-2023, have made the unit economics of operating at night no longer feasible. The difficulty of finding workers for graveyard shifts increases the costs even more.

In the end, it could be the market deciding for us. Restaurant reservation data from Yelp shows that many people are eating earlier than before—over 10% of all restaurant-goers are “early birds,” seated between 2 and 5 p.m.

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