Joseph Smith, owner of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, is echoing many restaurateurs’ criticism of remote work as businesses continue to see the impact of post-pandemic norms.
"We’re down at least 70 percent," Smith told "Varney & Co." Thursday while discussing weekday foot traffic compared to his pre-pandemic figures.
Smith continued, arguing that remote work is one of the main reasons the New York City restaurant industry has seen a significant drop in attendance.
"If you look in all these buildings that we have surrounding us here, 40 to 50 percent of those are empty," Smith told host Stuart Varney.
"They’re [remote employees] doing their work or they’re staying home," he said.
The shift to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could erase $800 billion in value from office buildings across major global cities by 2030, according to a new study published by McKinsey.
Despite the decline in diners, Smith finds that customers who are still commuting to their in-person jobs are not spending as much as they used to.
"They go to get a salad for their lunch and they go back to the office and they eat it at their desk. Or they get a slice of pizza. They get a burger. Stuff like that," he told Varney.
As the city’s restaurant industry grapples with the decline of bustling NYC-bound employees eating out during the work week, Smith also mentioned that the typical Friday and Saturday crowd is lackluster.
"The Saturday business coming in for the theater is not coming in like it used to," he stressed.
FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.