U.S. Restaurant Chain Transaction Declines Improve Into Single-Digits for the First Time Since March

Chicago, August 25, 2020 — In the week ending August 16, customer transaction declines at major restaurant chains improved into the single-digits after 21 weeks of double-digit declines, reports The NPD Group. Customer transactions were down  -9% in week ending August 16 compared to year ago, a +35-point gain from the steepest decline of  -44% in week ending April 12, according to NPD’s CREST® Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing 53% of the commercial restaurant traffic in U.S. 

Customer transactions at major quick service restaurant chains, which represent the bulk of industry transactions, were down  -8% compared to year ago in the week ending August 16.  Full service chain restaurants, which were most impacted by the mandated dine-in closures that are slowly being lifted, realized customer transactions declines of  -19% versus year ago, a +57-point gain from the steepest decline of  -76% in week ending April 12 compared to year ago.     

“Although transactions are still down, the move into the single-digits is a positive sign for the U.S. restaurant industry,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America.  “Although we’re stuck in neutral for now, I firmly believe there is still a lot of upside recovery for restaurants.  My belief is rooted in one reality: consumers are not willing to give up on the convenience and experience a restaurant meal brings to them and their families regardless of the barriers.”

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