How Local Restaurants in Austin, TX were Impacted by Austin City Limits Music Festival.

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How Local Restaurants in Austin, TX Were Impacted by Austin City Limit’s Music Festival.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses across the state of Texas were forced to decrease their store occupancy, limit their services, or even close their doors permanently.

What’s happening to Local Restaurants in Austin, TX during Covid-19?

The government mandates, as well as the virus itself had an overall negative impact on the U.S. economy. During the early stages of the lock down, Texas small businesses and restaurants were reporting that it would take over 9 months or longer to full recover while 3% of restaurants reported that they will never recover from this loss. Due to these losses, some local restaurants in Austin had to permanently close their doors.

This graph highlights the number of local restaurants that have closed over the last five years. All data and information has been taken from the Austin Eater website.

Covid-19’s Impact on the Music Industry.

Another industry that was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic was the music industry. The music industry around the world was forced to post pone events, tours, concerts, music festivals, and even showcases. As the pandemic showed no signs of coming to an early end, these postponements were forced to become cancellations with no guarantee of being rescheduled.

As the state of Texas slowly begins to return to the normalcy that resembles life before the lockdown, local businesses are finally opening up to full capacity and seeing an increase in traffic. With the state as well as the U.S. is reopening, the music industry is making its return. Artists are now able to reschedule their tours, perform in small and large venues, and have sets in large music festivals.

How has Austin City Limits Music Festival Impacted Businesses in Austin?

The Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival which is based in Austin, Texas was forced to cancel its lineup for the fall 2020 weekends. This caused a devastating loss to not only the music industry but also the economy in Austin. The ACL music festival is one of Austin’s largest music related events every year which generates more than $264 million in revenue for the Austin economy. The loss of this revenue because of the cancellation affects not only the economy but also other industries like restaurants and hotels. This cancellation impacted local businesses and restaurants as the foot traffic decreased due to the lack of visitors and tourists from the festival.

Every year, ACL music festival brings over 75,000 attendees to each weekend of the festival which then brings more traffic to local businesses. Local restaurants in Austin sometimes rely on business from travelers who are trying to experience some of the local culture. With the cancellation of larger music festivals as well as the lockdown, restaurants were struggling to stay afloat.

This graph shows the average amount of tickets that were sold for each day of the festival over the last five festivals.

As the 2021 Austin City Limits music festival occurred over the first two weekends in October, local restaurants began to see an increase in business and revenue. Every year, ACL reaches out to local businesses offering them the chance to be a vendor during the festival which also boosts exposure of the restaurants as well as revenue. Over the last few years, the number of local instead of chain restaurants has increased. As of 2021, 28 out of 32 vendors were native to the Austin or Central Texas area.

This bar graph highlights the number of local restaurants who were invited to be vendors at the ACL festival over the last five festivals. All data and information has been taken from the Austin Eater website.
This graph shows the number of local vendors vs. chain restaurants at the last five ACL music festivals. All data and information has been taken from the Austin Eater website.

Although not every local restaurant can be a vendor at the festival itself, Austin businesses still benefit from the increase of travelers and customers that are brought in. One restaurant near Zilker park, Baby Acapulco, or Baby A’s saw their traffic and overall sales increase over the two week period during the music festival.

How Has Social Media Helped Local Businesses during Covid-19?

Social media has become crucial for businesses during the pandemic as it offers new ways to effectively communicate with their customers and audience. By establishing a presence across all social media platforms, especially Instagram, Twitter, Yelp and even Facebook, these local restaurants are able to effectively advertise and market their products online. This will then increase their exposure and attract new customers.

creating accounts on social media platforms, local businesses can interact with their audience by having:

  • Interactive stories like polls, rates, questions, countdowns, and music.
  • Interactive tweets or instagram posts.
  • Instagram or Facebook lives.
  • Updated photos and menu prices on the specific Yelp pages.

During the Austin city limits music festival, many restaurants in the area began to increase their social media presence to advertise their products and services to tourists that were visiting the Austin area. One restaurant in particular, Baby A’s, increased their usage on Instagram and yelp by running ads in hopes of attracting new customers and increasing the traffic in the restaurant.

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