Chicago, IL, April 13, 2020 — U.S. restaurant customer transactions declined by 41% in the week ending April 5 compared to year ago, following a 42% decline in the prior week ending March 29, which may indicate the industry is bottoming out, reports The NPD
Group
.  The apparent “bottom” is likely due to the full effect of on-premise dining closures throughout the country and the industry’s collective ability to convert to off-premise modes, like carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru.   

“The 41% decline in restaurant transactions is similar to last week and may indicate a bottom. We also need to be aware that further erosion could occur if consumers’ economic situations worsen,” says David
Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America
. “To date, many consumers have continued to buy restaurant meals through delivery, takeout, and drive-thru to the degree allowed by the restrictive environment; but with rising unemployment, payroll reductions, and temporary furloughs, consumers may begin to think differently about their food budgets overall.”

Quick service restaurants, which historically have more off-premise business than full service restaurants, experienced lower transaction declines (-38%) in the week than total industry, according to NPD’s CREST®
Performance Alerts
, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.  Full service restaurants, which were already challenged prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, experienced transaction declines of 79% in the week ending Aril 5 compared to same week year ago.



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