The Re-Start Phase Has Begun, Says Industry Report

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According to market research firm The NPD Group,  as of this week more than 68% of all restaurant units are in states, counties, or municipalities where they are permitted to reopen their on-premise dining service.

The analysis does not mean all restaurants in those areas have reopened, but indicates the restrictions on opening are easing.

“With a growing number of restaurant dine-in services reopening, major restaurant chain customer transactions have been improving,” it reports.

In the week ending May 31, U.S. restaurant chain transactions declined by -18% compared to same period year ago, a +3% week-over-week improvement,  according to CREST® Performance Alerts, which provides a snapshot of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 72 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains. 

Restaurant industry performance varies geographically based on local policies for restaurants reopening and the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak. As expected, New York and California, where restaurants are still not permitted to open for on-premise dining, had the steepest customer transaction declines, -34% and -27%, respectively, in the week ending May 31 versus year ago. Restaurant transactions in Kentucky, where on-premise dining at limited capacity was allowed starting May 11, declined by -2%, reports NPD.

In week ending May 31, major full-service restaurant chains, which were hardest hit by the dine-in closures, realized a -37% decline in transactions compared to year ago, but a +15% increase from prior week. Quick service restaurant chain transactions, which represent the bulk of industry transactions, declined by -16% compared to year ago versus an -18% decline in week ending May 24.

“The U.S. foodservice industry today remains solidly in the re-start phase as restaurants begin to reopen their on-premise operations,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. 

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