Why Wall Street’s Iconic Steakhouses Are Empty
It’s a scene playing out with uncommon frequency as financial markets all around the world have been jolted by bouts of turbulence day after day. In the U.S., daily moves of 1 percent or more in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index have been piling up at a rate not seen during the bull market.
Whether it’s because of indigestion or market-induced exhaustion, fewer and fewer have any appetite for that midday filet mignon and scotch.
“The market was definitely a factor, there’s no two ways about it,” said Malcolm Knapp, a New York-based consultant who has been monitoring the restaurant industry since 1970. “You’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty in the market, which means behavior is inconsistent.”
Although a “lousy” day on Wall Street could bring more after-work drinkers, it’s usually at the expense of lunch, he said.
His monthly index of high-end steakhouse sales shows results weakened through February from a year ago, though weather and calendar shifts also played a part. January was particularly bad as sales rose just 2.6 percent, versus 4.6 percent a year earlier.