Almost 70 percent of U.S restaurants have reopened dining rooms in accordance with local coronavirus mandates, according to industry analysis firm The NPD Group, which has helped sales climb at major restaurant chains.
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The tracking data the firm analyzed from CREST Performance Alerts shows that although customer transactions for the week ending on May 31 were 18 percent less than what the were the same time a year ago, the results are a 3 percent “week-over-week improvement.”
Moreover, the uptick was observed in a sample of 72 quick-service, fast-casual, midscale and casual dining restaurant chains that CREST regularly monitors.
“The U.S. food service industry today remains solidly in the restart phase as restaurants begin to reopen their on-premise operations,” said David Portalatin, The NPD Group’s food industry adviser.
“The industry will move to the recovery phase when all states reopen on-premise dining and we can begin to make a detailed assessment of how many permanent restaurant closures there are and how that will affect what the industry will look like as it reemerges,” he added regarding the firm's findings.
Not so surprisingly, restaurants that are in states that have eased coronavirus lockdown orders have encountered higher customer transactions. For example, The NPD Group found that Kentucky had a less steep sales decline than states that prohibit on-premise dining – only having a negative 2 percent in sales as of May 31 compared to its previous year.
New York and California, on the other hand, which have stricter restrictions that prohibit on-premise dining, had severe customer transaction declines of 34 percent and 27 percent, respectively, compared to last year for the week ending May 31.
Overall, full-service restaurant chains were hurt the most from coronavirus dine-in prohibitions, according to The NPD Group. Recent data shows this segment experienced a comparable -37 percent decline in customer transactions as of May 31. However, this is still a 15 percent increase from last week’s reported sales.
Quick-service restaurant chains also received a marginal improvement with a comparable 16 percent customer transaction decline for the week ending on May 31. The decline was previously 18 percent on the week ending on May 24.
Last week, The NPD Group reported that nearly 320,000 U.S. restaurants had reopened “some level of on-premise dining,” which falls in line with the trend that restaurant sales are steadily climbing as time goes on.