Last Updated on July 24, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Seattle’s Chinatown-International District is facing a significant downturn in business, leaving owners and managers of sit-down restaurants concerned about the future. Despite the neighborhood being a hub for large events, such as the Bite of Seattle, these establishments are experiencing a decline in customers.
Interestingly, other businesses like boba tea shops are thriving, with long lines of customers. However, this success is not translating to sit-down restaurants, leaving owners puzzled and worried about the sudden drop in foot traffic.
According to many restaurant owners, this year’s decline in business is unprecedented, with some reporting sales dropping by an alarming 50%. The precise reasons behind this downturn remain uncertain, prompting owners to seek assistance from local leaders and event planners.
In an effort to revive their businesses, restaurant owners are urging the city to promote the Chinatown-International District, specifically targeting stadium-goers to visit their establishments. They believe that the neighborhood’s unique and diverse culinary offerings can be a significant draw for visitors.
Hai, the owner of Baegopa, a popular restaurant in the district, proposes a solution to ease the strain on stadium-goers during events. He suggests spreading out events like the Bite of Seattle to different dates, as having all of them occur simultaneously overwhelms visitors with high demand for lodging, parking, and other expenses. By doing so, it would give visitors more time to explore the neighborhood’s sit-down restaurants and experience the diverse culinary scene.
In an expression of unity, both owners convey their willingness to engage in productive conversations with local economic leaders to find solutions to the decline in business. They believe that by collaborating with key stakeholders, they can develop effective strategies to revitalize the area’s restaurant industry.
As Seattle’s Chinatown-International District continues to grapple with this decline, it is imperative for businesses, local leaders, and event planners to work together to promote and support the vibrant restaurant scene that has been a hallmark of the neighborhood. Only through a collective effort can they restore the district’s reputation as a culinary destination and ensure the survival of these beloved sit-down restaurants.