U.S. Quick Service Restaurant Chains Drive Customer Transaction Declines in W/E July 12

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Total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by -14% in the week ending July 12 versus year ago, compared to -11% in the prior week. Quick service restaurant chains drove the declines, while full service restaurants chains improved declines in the week, according to The NPD Group.

“The flip in declines this week from quick service restaurants to full service restaurants is a reminder that the world is unpredictable today and we should expect twists and turns on the bumpy road to recovery, ” says David Portalatin, food industry advisor, The NPD Group.

Total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by -14% in the week ending July 12 versus year ago, compared to -11% in the prior week. Quick service restaurant (QSR) chains drove the decline, decelerating 4-points to -13% year-over-year while full service restaurant (FSR) chains improved declines by 3-points to -26% year-over-year. A reversal from last week when FSRs drove the declines and QSRs fueled the improvement in declines, according to NPD’s CREST® Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75* quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing 53% of the commercial restaurant traffic in U.S.

“Last week when quick service restaurants drove the improvements in restaurant customer transaction declines, I highlighted the apparent divergence in trend between quick service and full service restaurants, supported by sound reasoning about on-premises and off-premises models, the pace of reopening and re-closing, and the resurgence in COVID -19 cases around the country,” David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America . “The flip in declines this week from quick service restaurants to full service restaurants is a reminder that the world is unpredictable today and we should expect twists and turns on the bumpy road to recovery. Still, the pre-COVID trend that favored quick service restaurants and the segment’s expertise in offering off-premises services, like drive-thru and delivery, has accelerated during the pandemic and will continue to do so in the long-term.”

The estimated percentage of U.S. restaurants that are permitted to have on-premises dining in the week ending July 12 declined to 82% from 90% in the prior week, according to NPD’s restaurant census ReCount®. The majority of the change was in California. In week ending July 12, most California restaurants were once again off-premises only statewide. As a result, California’s FSR transactions declined 6-points to -51% versus year ago, the lowest percentage of any state. In week ending July 19, FSR volume in California will be completely off-premises, which will lead to restaurants in the state ramping up delivery programs, streamlining menus and repurposing parking lots as temporary drive-thru lanes. As the state with the nation’s largest number of restaurants, this will certainly contribute to the reshaping of restaurant operations in the new normal.

*Three additional chains have been added to NPD’s CREST® Performance Alerts customer transactions tracking this week bringing the total coverage to 75 quick service restaurants, fast casual, midscale and casual dining chains representing 53% of commercial restaurant traffic. The aggregated views presented here have been refreshed for the entire data history, and trend lines are not disrupted by more than an occasional percentage point or two and directionally nothing changes.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, video games, and watches. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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