As The Realities of the COVID-19 Pandemic Sink in, U.S. Restaurant Customer Transactions Decline by 8 Percent in Week Ending March 15

Chicago, March 24, 2020 — With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading throughout the country, more people working from home, and social distancing guidance in place,  U.S. restaurant customer transactions declined by 8% in the week ending March 15 compared to year ago, reports  The NPD Group. In the prior week ending March 8, the quick service restaurant chain “breakfast wars” helped to drive a 4% increase in total U.S. restaurant customer transactions compared to year ago, 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. 

QSR chain customer transactions, which represent the bulk of U.S. restaurant transactions, declined by 7% in the week. The already challenged full service segments of casual dining and midscale/family dining realized transaction declines of 22%s and 24% respectively.

“The U.S. restaurant industry situation remains very fluid and the most recent week read of customer transactions reflect performance before mandated on-premise restaurant closures were implemented in multiple states,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Some of the areas I’ll be watching closely in the coming weeks are delivery capacity, the pizza category, and third-party delivery platforms, like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats.”


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