OpenTable, a leading provider of online restaurant reservations, released its Restaurant Industry Index for the fourth quarter and 2013 calendar year. 

"Spurred by healthy economic growth and an unseasonally mild winter, the San Francisco Bay Area reservation-taking restaurant industry experienced a solid lift in the fourth quarter," notes Duncan Robertson, OpenTable chief financial officer. "The U.S. overall and most major metropolitan areas that we track experienced a modest lift with the exception of Chicago, which declined by three percent, and Atlanta, Boston and Washington D.C., which were essentially flat. The New York metropolitan area benefited from an easier comparable quarter by lapping Superstorm Sandy, which hit during the fourth quarter of 2012."

The Index reveals in 2013 that restaurants in major metro areas within the U.S. experienced an increase of 1.3 percent over 2012. Atlanta remained virtually the same, while Boston registered a slight dip of -0.5 percent. Washington, D.C. also had a slight decrease, declining -0.2 percent from 2012. Chicago suffered the largest drop, showing a -3.3 percent slide from the previous year. 

Looking at regions that showed a spike in restaurant visits, San Francisco topped the list, climbing a healthy 6.1 percent over 2012. Coming in second was metropolitan New York with a 3.1 percent boost, followed by metropolitan Los Angeles, with a hike of 2.7 percent, Denver with a 1.9 percent rise, and metropolitan Philadelphia, with a gain of 1.3 percent.

The index, which is based on data gathered from more than 10,000 reservation-taking restaurants sampled from the OpenTable network in North America, reflects those guests who honored reservations made online or by telephone, or who visited the restaurant without calling ahead. Each percentage indicates a year-over-year increase or decrease in the number of guests served in these reservation-taking restaurants, as recorded by the restaurants in their reservation books. 

By Joann Whitcher

Industry News, NextGen Casual