On Saturday, January 21st, 3.5 million demonstrators took to the streets of over 300 American cities to march for equality and to stand up to President Donald Trump’s new legislation. While both the media and the government have had difficulty calculating the exact size of the crowds that turned up to the marches across the country, here at Avero we wanted to calculate just how the marches affected restaurant sales in five major cities (New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Fransisco). While some restaurants closed in anticipation of the march, worried about the safety of their guests and employees, other restaurants stayed open in hopes that the large crowds would boost sales. Some even promised to donate a portion of sales to organizations that support causes in line with the motivation for the march.
Across the hundreds of restaurants in the five major cities we examined, year-over-year same-store-sales significantly increased on the day of the woman’s march. Despite concerns about security, street closures, and large crowds, the march brought thirsty and hungry customers to restaurants across the country. Even with pouring rain and cold temperatures, San Fransisco restaurants had the greatest sales increase (13.7%).
As the marches started to wind down, demonstrators marched their way to drinks and food. Flavio Fogione, the manager at Felice 64 in New York City, said of the march, “As the march ended, we received a lot of walk ins of many groups coming from [the march]. It was awesome because there was a great energy among the restaurant and all groups merged into one sharing ideas and thoughts.” Similarly, Aria Dorsey, General Manager of DBGB Kitchen & Bar in Washington DC, said, “From noon until about 8 PM we were packed non-stop…we never expected that. We had lines out the door…it brought a great crowd to the restaurant, but it was an interesting juxtaposition having guests in town for the inauguration, wearing their bright red “Make America Great Again” hats sitting right next to guests [with] protest signs lying across the floor.” It seems that the march not only brought increased restaurant sales but also an interesting mix of guests with varied beliefs into a shared space. You can continue to read more about restaurant sales trends on the Avero Index.
*Compared to same day in 2015 because of confounding effects of snow storm Jonas on the same day in 2016