DES MOINES, Iowa — Crowds and nightlife have returned to downtown Des Moines but one thing that has lagged behind is the lunch rush crowd.

Bubba recently opened its lunch service again, but the demand is different than what it was pre-pandemic.

Chris Diebel, Bubba’s Founding Partner, said that the makeup of the lunch crowd is different as well.

“With so many people working hybrid what we’re seeing is when they are coming downtown to work in offices they are eating out but obviously when they’re at home they’re not venturing to downtown to have lunch,” Diebel said.”

While some of the lunch crowd has returned it is far from what it was before the pandemic.

Diebel said that restaurants have a tough decision to make when considering whether to open for lunch.

“Every restaurant needs to look at it in their own terms and make the decision is it worth the risk to bring back those shifts and because lunches are a lower margin shift it makes that decision even more critical financially,” Diebel said. “Because it may not make sense for some places to ever bring lunch back given the current demand levels.”

Diebel also said that new restaurants coming to downtown Des Moines may decide not to have lunch service.

“Anybody looking to open a restaurant today would think long and hard about being open for lunch definitely, it’s something that we all consider when looking at our business models is it worth pursuing this day part when there is more money to be had at night and on the weekends when people have free time and are willing to travel,” Diebel said.