NPD: Restaurant Dollar and Traffic Declines Ease in August

    Industry News | September 23, 2020

    While August restaurant trends reflect an environment in which slightly less than 25 percent of restaurant units were under restrictions for on-premises dining during the course of the month, similar to June and July, the rate of traffic and dollar declines for the month eased slightly to negative 10 and 9 percent, respectively, compared to same period year ago, reported The NPD Group.

    “As the summer progressed and mandated restrictions were lifted, an increasing number of consumers became more comfortable dining out based on the safety protocols restaurants put in place,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “After months of staying at home and cooking their own meals or ordering in, they were ready for the restaurant experience again.”

    Since April, at the height of the stay-at-home and mandated dine-in closures, there are several areas of the restaurant industry that have improved or returned closer to pre-pandemic levels over the last months, according to NPD’s CREST® foodservice market research, which daily tracks how U.S. consumers use restaurants and foodservice outlets. For example:

    On-premises visits have improved every month since April as the mandated dine-in closures have lifted and restaurants were able to offer varying levels of dine-in capacity.

    Digital orders accounted for over 20 percent of all restaurant occasions in April, but is down to 17 percent of occasions in August.

    Dealing, a buy-one-get-one-free or other type of deal, was utilized in 30 percent of occasions in April has slowed share growth every month since, and represented 27 percent of occasions in August.

    Adult-only parties have steadily improved share over the last several months. In August, adult-only parties represented 63 percent of all restaurant occasions and parties with kids (families in most cases) represented 37 percent. In April, adult-only parties represented 59 percent of visit share and parties with kids 41 percent share.

    News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.