Likely buoyed by the coronavirus relief payments received from the government, consumers increased their restaurant transactions in the week ending April 19 relative to week ending April 12 easing the previous weeks’ declines, reports The NPD Group. Although the industry is still at historic lows compared to year ago, restaurant customer transactions declined by 36 percent compared to a 43 percent decline the prior week, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Transactions at quick service restaurants, which are still the most resilient segment of the industry, declined 34 percent in the week ending April 19 compared to year ago. Even the significantly challenged full service restaurant segment received a little relief, declining 72 percent in the week versus a 79 percent decline prior week. The rate of decline for casual dining full service chains improved 12 points from a decline of 77 percent in the week ending April 12 to 65 percent the week ending April 19, reports NPD. 

“Whether the relief monies received can sustain an upward trajectory in restaurant transactions remains to be seen,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “There are also significant concerns for consumers’ overall financial health with more than 26 million now unemployed.”  

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