The recovery of U.S. restaurant customer transactions has stalled for the second week in a row as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in a number of states, reports The NPD Group. For the week ending June 28, total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains are down 14 percent versus the same week a year ago. 

Last week, week ending June 21, total transactions were down 13 percent versus year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 72 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

The rise in COVID-19 case counts is causing local and state authorities to delay reopening, and in some cases, reinstating restrictions to on-premise restaurant dining.

In Texas, for example, restaurants may continue to offer dine-in services, but capacity is rolled back from 75 to 50 percent. California announced last week the closing of its nearly 86,000 restaurants to on-premise dining. These policy changes hurt full service restaurants most. 

Nationwide, customer transactions for the week ending June 28 were negative 25 percent versus the prior year, down only one point versus last week’s year-over-year comparison, but several states where COVID-19 is gaining saw the biggest declines in full-service transactions. 

Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona led the decline, decelerating between 6- to 9- percentage points in year-over-year comparisons from last week. Customer transactions at major quick service restaurant chains declined by 13 percent compared to same week last year, down 1-point from last week’s decline.

“It’s apparent that the road to recovery is going to be a challenging one for the U.S. restaurant industry,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Consumer demand for restaurant dining is there as well as a want for normalcy, but there is nothing normal about this situation.”

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