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As the Centers for Disease Control continues to urge Americans to stay put this Thanksgiving weekend to quell the spread of COVID-19, brick-and-mortar retailers face some dismal foot traffic numbers, according to walkthrough marketing firm Zenreach, which also noted retailers “and restaurant establishments could be in for a very difficult winter.”

Despite the declines, there is one bright spot in the retail and restaurant sector, Zenreach said in its report: Thai restaurants are outperforming other categories, but it is not clear why.

In the traffic data, which Zenreach measures as “average walk-ins,” the firm said during the same period last year, the seven-day rolling average of walk-ins was about 500,000. Now, that average has declined to roughly 200,000.

Looking at just the restaurant segment, walk-ins are running at about 35 percent below 2019 levels, “but Thai restaurants are faring better than most” and are “operating at 45 percent of normal. No other kind of restaurant is seeing this type of spike in sales,” Zenreach said.

“Perhaps Americans are looking for something completely different from the meals they make at home or they figure the pandemic is a perfect time to expand their culinary horizons,” the company said. “Whatever the reason, Thai restaurants are a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year for restaurants.”

According to Google Trends, the search term “Thai restaurant” has doubled in popularity since 2004. For the trailing 90 days, the interest by state/region for the search term is most popular in Oregon, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, Colorado, and Washington. In sixth is Vermont followed by Michigan, Minnesota and Maine with Utah as tenth.

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