Consumers are being more selective when it comes to dining out, as the leisure and hospitality sector at-large looks to bounce back.
"People want to come back out [to restaurants], but we're not past COVID yet," David Schwarzbach, Yelp CFO told Yahoo Finance (video above).
"The businesses that have been able to make it through COVID are stronger," Schwarzbach said, with consumers and business owners alike facing inflation, supply-chain strain, and other major headwinds.
Schwarzbach added that restaurants "want to reach those consumers" via advertisements on Yelp's (YELP) platform, but labor shortages remain an ongoing issue for the hospitality industry.
"If they [restaurants] can't hire enough people to staff, then they don't want to spend too much on advertising and drive more people in," he adds.
In April, 428,000 jobs were added in the U.S. economy, with the leisure and hospitality sector leading the growth. The sector added 78,000 jobs, with food services and drinking establishments adding 44,000 and hotels and the like adding 22,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics.
However, there is a long road ahead to return to pre-pandemic levels, Schwarzbach said. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 1.4 million, or 8.5 percent, since the onset of the pandemic in February 2020.
Yelp, most known for its reviews, is now helping potential customers wrestle with inflation.
"Restaurants are more expensive today ... You are being more selective about when you're going out. People still want to get out again after COVID ... As things are more expensive, they're not able to go out as frequently, so they want to make a great decision there as well."
Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.