In the week ending Aug. 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 by 9% in the week ending Aug. 16 compared to year ago — a 35-point gain from the steepest decline of 44% in the week ending April 12, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts. The report 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 by 8% compared to year ago in the week ending Aug. 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% vs. a year ago, a 57-point gain from the steepest decline of 76% in the week ending April 12 compared to a 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.”