US restaurant chain transactions improved during the week ended April 26, the second week in a row for rosier numbers, even before some states began lifting restrictions against dining inside restaurants.
For the last full week in April, total customer transactions for restaurant chains were 32% less than the comparable week in 2019, compared with a 36% decline the prior week, according to a report from NPD Group.
For that week, transactions were down 30% for quick-serve restaurants, compared with the prior year, While transactions for full-service restaurants were off by 71% for that week, it is slightly better than a 72% decline for the previous week.
The statistics are provided by CREST Performance Alerts, which looks at weekly chain-specific transactions and “share trends” for 70 quick service, fast-casual, midscale and casual dining chains.
“Government relief payments and overall improvement in consumer spending most likely contributed to the easing of transaction declines,” David Portalatin, an NPD food industry advisor, said in prepared remarks.
The upward trend should continue as restaurants in some states begin to reopen dining rooms, Portalatin wrote.
The 20,000 restaurants in Georgia were permitted to reopen on April 27, and several other states since then have also eased restrictions, including Texas, which has nearly 60,000 restaurants.
Texas’ stay-home order expired on April 30, and Gov Greg Abbott launched a process to reopen business in the state. including allowing restaurants to reopen on-site dining on May 1, but only at 25% capacity and while following social distancing guidelines.
But Portalatin pointed out that as states around the country being to reopen businesses, not all restaurants will be ready to open their doors on the first day possible. And, he said many consumers will be cautious about returning to dining rooms, and some may want to continue to stay at home even when restrictions are lifted.
“Still unknown is the number of restaurants that may never reopen,” Portalatin wrote.