Restaurants are 75% back to normal, but NYC offices remain mostly empty

James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, criticized Feathers when he criticized employees last summer for going to restaurants even as they avoid the office. “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come to the office,” Gorman said last June.

But his frustration with workers going out to eat — and not to the office — appears to be justified even nine months later, according to the latest figures.

Data from the restaurant reservation service table is open It showed that over the past week, demand for restaurants was nearly 75% of pre-pandemic levels, several restaurant counts reported to The Post.

But attendance at the office? Here’s another story: Offices are only 28.6% full when compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to data last week compiled by Kastle, which monitors keycard swipes in office buildings.

A New York City resident who frequented restaurants – while still avoiding the office – was quick to explain the discrepancy.

Work from home
Less than 30% of workers have returned to their desks since the pandemic began.
Getty Images

“Going to a restaurant for a great meal? This person told The Post. “Will I move to sit at a desk for eight hours where I can do it from the comfort of my house? Not much.”

This is not the company line that managers have taken, and some are frustrated by employees’ unwillingness to return to the office even while they are involved in all kinds of New York City nightlife.

“If you can hit the bar at STK, you can be at your desk at UBS,” one cynical Manhattan CEO told The Post of the World’s steakhouse chain.

Restaurant is open
Restaurants are getting back in business even as employers struggle to bring workers into the office.
Getty Images

Residents of the New York office may shrug off the new statistics, but city leaders have spoken out loud about their concerns. Since taking office last month, Mayor Eric Adams has emphasized the need to get people back to work.

“You can’t run New York City from home,” Adams said last month. “This accountant from a bank sits in a desk — just not him. He fuels our financial ecosystem. He goes to the cleaners to clean his suits. He goes to the restaurant. He brings in business travelers.”


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