U.S. restaurant chain transaction declines continued to improve for the fourth consecutive week in the week ending May 10 as more states reopen and America’s mothers are honored with a meal they didn’t need to cook. Total restaurant customer transactions were down 23 percent compared to a 26 percent decline the prior week, reports The NPD Group. Full service restaurants benefitted from a Mother’s Day lift, improving transaction declines by 39 percent, although still down 58 percent compared to year ago. Transactions at quick service restaurants declined by 21 percent in the week ending May 10 compared to a 24 percent decrease prior week, according to CREST Performance Alertswhich provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick-service, fast-casual, midscale, and casual-dining chains. 

As of the week ending May 10, NPD, based on its ReCount restaurant census, estimates that 19 states allowed some level of on-premise dining. Some of these states never imposed restrictions, while some reopened in the past couple of weeks. In aggregate, the “open” states performed 8 points better than the remaining U.S. in the week reported, which reinforces the point that reopening happens gradually as both dining room capacities and consumer demand come back incrementally. Tennessee and Texas are among the largest states in terms of restaurant unit counts that have lifted restrictions to on-premise dining in the last couple of weeks.  Both states showed customer transactions improved by 7 percentage points in week ending May 10 over the prior week. Tennessee restaurant transactions are down 14 percent and Texas is down 18 percent compared to year ago.  

“Permanent restaurant closures, economically distressed consumers, and the possibility of a second wave of virus cases still bring uncertainty; but at least for now, the recent run of weekly gains is encouraging,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The road back will be challenging and slow, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

News, NPD Group