I love going out to eat, catch a movie, or get a drink with friends. I realize that I do not go out late in the evening very often. I have noticed myself looking up dinner reservations and most of the times available to reserve are 7, 8 or 9 p.m., clearly not the typical dinner time hours. Of course, I will book something if I am really craving that restaurant, but it has been getting harder and harder to find restaurants with reservations at or around 5 or 6 p.m.
When did these times change? What is making people go out earlier than usual nowadays?
Hybrid and remote workers are the ones fueling the shift to earlier outings. As soon as work is over, they can close their laptops and immediately be at home to get ready for their evening. There is no commute to and from work which used to give in-office employees the chance to have an hour or so between work and leisure.
According to the Wall Street Journal, restaurants are seating 10% of diners between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., compared to 5% in 2019, according to Yelp, with dinner starting around 5 p.m. Even Uber trips to restaurants during the 4 p.m. hour have increased by 10% since 2019 and are down 9% after 8 p.m.
Even movie premieres are earlier in the day. Remember the days when Twilight premieres were at midnight? I do! Now if I want to see the new Marvel movie premiere, the first screening is, at the earliest, 3 or 4 p.m.!
According to Kristina Dinino-Jeffords, owner of ROC Cinema in Rochester, N.Y, in an interview with WSJ, she estimates 75% of the theaters business happens before the 8 p.m. show, up from 45% in 2019. She even added a 3 p.m. weekday show, which has become very popular with patrons at her theater.
Late-night outings are becoming a thing of the past. I catch myself going to bed by 10 p.m. most nights. Sleep and being comfortable is more favorable to many of my twenty something year old friends and me. It takes a lot of effort to go out at 9 p.m. and stay out late until 2 a.m. The earlier outing, the faster I can be home with my dog, chilling on the couch watching TV. After a long day, doesn't that sound a lot more relaxing?