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It’s official: People have missed restaurants more than their own families

We asked 27,000 readers how they feel about the past year, and it turns out they REALLY miss dining

James Manning
Written by
James Manning

It definitely sucks that, in many countries and cities around the world, we still aren’t allowed to go and see our family and friends in person. That millions of people are still condemned to Zoom calls and maybe the odd distanced chat, rather than being able to go see, hug and hang out indoors with the people we love.

But you know what really sucks? Not being able to dine out, goddammit.

That’s the verdict from our snap poll of more than 27,000 people, in which we asked what they had missed the most in the year since the pandemic officially began.

We quizzed 27,275 Time Out readers worldwide in the run-up to this week’s Pandemiversary. Almost a third (28 percent, to be precise) told us that they had missed restaurants, bars and cafés more than anything else – including seeing friends and family.

The absence of restaurants has been felt especially strongly in France (where else?). A massive 47 percent of French respondents told us that dining out was what they missed most.

Globally, only 24 percent of people told us that they had missed friends and family the most. Concerts and live music were also missed keenly, with 12 percent of respondents desperate to get down to a gig. (Here’s the latest on when live music could come back in earnest.)

At the other end of the scale, 2 percent of respondents said they had missed the office more than anything else. (Some people must really love their jobs.) And just 4 percent apiece said that the one thing they had missed the most was either live sports or going to the gym.

So if you’ve been looking forward to the day that you can have dinner without having to prep, cook, serve and wash up at the end, you are very much not alone. Restaurants, we miss you!

We asked chefs, bar owners and other hospitality pioneers for their memories of the last night before lockdown. Things got emotional.

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