At one time, Chinese restaurants in the Big Apple were a hot item. Each new place that opened would promise of one or more dishes on its menu “First time served in New York.” Now many of those may soon be facing their last time served in New York.
What’s accounting for the drop-off? According to the New York Times, the trend is the result of what might be called generational attrition. As the owners of these businesses age and face retirement, many “have no one to pass the business to. Their children, educated and raised in America, are pursuing professional careers that do not demand the same grueling labor as food service.”
According to new data from the restaurant reviewing website Yelp, the share of Chinese restaurants in the top 20 metropolitan areas has been consistently falling. Five years ago, an average of 7.3 percent of all restaurants in these areas were Chinese, compared with 6.5 percent today. That reflects 1,200 fewer Chinese restaurants at a time when these 20 places added more than 15,000 restaurants over all.
The news is somewhat sobering, coming as it does on the heels of one of the biggest days of the year for take-out Chinese food. I am referring to Christmas, which in many Jewish households has become a ritual day for consuming Chinese food.