Why Some Restaurants Aren't Open Late Anymore

Something we can probably all agree on: We have missed meeting people to grab a bite. Foodies love to have adventurous friends nearby to try new restaurants, take amazing Insta-ready food photos, and share their discoveries on social media. After two years of limiting social gatherings and being afraid of sharing appetizers with the whole party, many of us are ready to go back to normal dining experiences.

However, while returning to their old eating adventures, some customers have found that their favorite places are closing earlier, says New York Magazine's Grub Street. This may come as a shock, especially in a food metropolis like New York City where there is always a new place to try. It's the city whose after hours start with Buffalo wings (the most famous food in New York), continue with happy hour and appetizers, and finish with late-night ramen. Nevertheless, in 2022, restaurants that used to close at midnight are closing earlier, with some even shutting their doors at 9 p.m.

Why could this be? Are people more conscious of their money or are they respecting their bedtime? The first explanation may be true. According to The Washington Post, people are currently more cash-conscious in light of inflation. At the same time, after years of stimulus checks and less spending during the pandemic, they are ready to spend their money. As it turns out, though, customers aren't the reason why restaurants are closing earlier.

Restaurants are still dealing with a labor shortage

Restaurants are still fighting the Covid crisis. According to Forbes, the pandemic-related labor shortage has made it harder to hire cooks, servers, and agricultural workers, affecting the cost of sustaining a restaurant. With fewer employees, owners are forced to operate in fewer hours so their workforce can rest. It may seem like the restaurant industry has been experiencing a labor shortage for quite some time; that could be because it's taking some businesses longer to catch up with workers' demands for higher wages, especially amid inflation and profit losses from 2020 and 2021.

But, avoid long faces! A bright side to many restaurants' early bird hours is that revamped, more creative breakfast and brunch menus are a major food trend for 2022, per Food & Wine. (New Yorkers are in luck: This city offers surprising brunch dishes in a variety of flavors. Ever thought of having Japanese food for breakfast? Try Okonomi).) And if you're still missing your late-night dinners out, keep in mind that your favorite spot is probably fighting to stay afloat and may reintroduce later hours in the next few months. In the meantime, plan ahead with earlier reservations, and trust the industry's resilience!