Why Does Everything Close Early?

A few years ago, we went to Arches National Park during a cross-country road trip. It took us some time to visit multiple attractions, so we returned to Moab in the evening. 

Moab is the only town near the Arches National Park. We found that almost every shop has closed early except for Wendy’s and Burger King. They had closed their dining, and only the drive-through was open. Since then, we have visited numerous cities and found that almost everywhere, shops and restaurants close early. 

Over the years, we have talked to numerous business owners about why they close their shops early, and this article summarizes a few points that those business owners gave us on why they close early.

Not Enough Customers

Businesses will only keep their doors open if there are enough customers. Except for a few big cities such as New York City, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, most cities and towns have fewer populations. Even these big cities have late-night customers because of tourists. 

As most local people work day jobs, most local people don’t go to restaurants late at night. In most places, the local people complete their outside work, including groceries and shopping before evening. Therefore, after 8 or 9 PM, there are not enough customers for the business.

Keeping a restaurant open during the daytime when it’s most busy or late at night costs the same. However, the return isn’t the same. If there’s not enough foot traffic into the business, it’s unprofitable to keep the restaurant or shops open. It’s why almost everything closes early.

Lack of Security

In many areas keeping stores open late at night is risky. For example, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have many corner shops that stay open 24 hours a day. However, not in every neighborhood. 

There are areas in the Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and Queens where it’s dangerous for shop owners to keep their businesses open after 8 MP or 9 MP. In these areas Theft, Robbery typically happens after sunset. Therefore, in many neighborhoods where the crime rate is high, shop owners close their businesses early. 

Attractions Maintain Business Hours

Not only do the shops or restaurants close early, but most tourist attractions in every major place also close early.

Tourist attractions can be either government-operated or privately operated.

Government-owned tourist places such as museums, zoos, and parks, follow government office hours — typically open at 8 AM and close at 5 PM.

Privately owned tourist attractions typically stay open longer than government-owned attractions. However, still, they sometimes close early. Again, it all boils down to the customer. 

Typically, every major attraction sees fewer tourists and customers after dark. Therefore, it’s unprofitable to keep them open late at night. 

Privately Owned Businesses

Except for Walmart and other chain big stores, most businesses are owned by a private individual. These people have families. They also need to do their family-related errands. In most cities, these business owners close their shops early to enjoy their time with their families because they know it’s a waste of time, energy, and money to keep their business open after the evening. 

Moreover, most of these shops are smaller and operated by the owners. It’s impossible for a person to work 8 AM to 8MP daily for seven days a week. Thus, many chose to work fewer hours. It’s why everything closes early in most places.

Downtown Closes Early

Many call New York City a city that never sleeps. However, during our visit, we found it hard to believe. Since then, in many downtowns in many cities, we found that downtown becomes dead after sunset. For example, it’s hard to find a restaurant open after dark. 

Downtown is primarily a business area. There everything is commercial and has a few residential apartments. Therefore, most shops and restaurants do business during day time when offices are open. On Saturday and Sunday and after hours, these businesses see almost no customers. Thus, everywhere owners close their business around 6 PM downtown. 

Tourists Are Not Late Night Shoppers

Everything would close early in most tourist attractions, except for a few restaurants. Even in Times Square in New York City, the busiest place on earth, everything closes around 9 PM to 10 PM because locals may come to Times Square to hang around, but tourists leave to rest.

On a trip, tourists typically don’t hang around in bars late at night. They go to sleep early to rise early the next day. Sometimes, tourists are so tired after the entire day that they take a rest after sunset. Therefore, businesses don’t see much foot traffic, even in tourist areas. It’s why even in most touristy places, everything closes early.

The Cycle

In many places, almost everything closes early. Therefore, people in the area already know that going out at night is a waste of time because nothing is open. Thus, there are fewer customers in the streets. When there are fewer customers, businesses will close early. Therefore, even a new business will soon realize that it is losing money by keeping it open after sunset. It’s a cycle.

Only those areas where there is a 24/7 industry, where workers work multiple shifts; shops, restaurants, and gas stations can be found open 24 hours. Elsewhere, everything closes early.