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Restaurants in downtown Indianapolis are impacted by a decrease in office building workers

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Four years have passed since COVID-19 brought the entire globe to a complete halt.

Even though there has been a great deal of progress since the epidemic started, there are still certain difficulties. This includes retaining the operations of some firms in the face of a dwindling downtown labor force.

“It’s clear that downtown has made real strides in terms of post-pandemic recovery,” said Taylor Schaffer, the president and CEO of Downtown Indy Inc.

Those steps are evident every day when you observe the foot activity in Indianapolis downtown. Schaffer did add, though, that some of those trends have changed since 2020.

“User behavior has changed,” she said. “We see fewer people in the office five days a week.”

The pandemic has something to do with the fact that large office facilities like Salesforce Tower are not quite as filled as they used to be.

“How people go to work, where they work from and so forth has changed,” said Patrick Tamm, the president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Whether they go into the office three days a week, not at all, a hybrid effect “A” day, “B” day, everyone’s doing something a little different.”

According to Tamm, this has changed the downtown environment.

“How and where they’re getting their dry cleaning, how and where they’re getting lunch, how and where they’re getting breakfast, their cocktails, their drinks with colleagues has changed,” he described.

A few companies adjusted their methods of operation. Some businesses, like Yolk in Salesforce Tower, closed their doors completely at the end of May.

“We have less restaurants in the central business district, yet we see more new restaurants on the outskirts of downtown,” Tamm said. “If you take a look at the greater number of new restaurants, you’ll see them in neighborhoods very adjacent to the central business district.”

Since the epidemic, fewer individuals have been employed in downtown Indianapolis; but, according to Downtown Indy, more people are now residing there.

“The residential makeup downtown looks vastly different than it did 15 years ago,” Schaffer said. “Since 2010, we’ve seen a 50% increase in the number of residents downtown. That undeniably has an impact as well when you consider that some of those individuals are dealing with similar changes in both their living patterns but also their working patterns.”

 

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