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Consumer sentiment toward off-premise purchases, such as this curbside pickup at Chili's Grill & Bar, improved in late May, according to Black Box Intelligence.

Guest sentiment toward off-premise recovers in late May, Black Box says

Trends return to mid-April levels as more restaurants reopen after coronavirus restrictions

Guest sentiment around off-premise restaurant offerings, which dipped as establishments began reopening in early May after coronavirus closures, have started to recover, according to Black Box Intelligence’s guest metrics.

The Dallas-based restaurant analytics company said in a report Thursday that “guest sentiment trends have started to recover as of week-ended May 24, with off-premise sentiment returning to similar levels as were seen in April.”

In early May, consumer had complained of long wait times for curbside pick-up orders, Black Box said.

Black Box intelligence, which has been providing a weekly update since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, also noted that third-party delivery adoption has continued to increase for all age groups since the pandemic began.

“Gen Z has seen the most significant adoption rates, with over 14% of Gen Z consumers using 3PD to order from a restaurant since March 15 of this year,” the Black Box Consumer Intelligence division noted. Gen Z is generally applied to those born in the years between 1997 and 2012.

Fewer Baby Boomer consumers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, used third-party delivery in the past two months, Black Box said. About 2.3% of those Baby Boomer consumers used third-party delivery in that period, but it reflected a 50% growth over the same months in 2019.

Black Box Financial Intelligence said year-over-year restaurant sales continued to improve for the week ended May 17.

“Average check continues increasing rapidly for limited-service brands,” the company said. “However, growth in average spending per guest remains negative for full-service restaurants.”

The industry segments with the biggest declines in sales over last year continued to be family dining and fine dining,” Black Box said. “While all other segments are seeing faster improvement in their sales, fine dining has seen little improvement in their sales in the last month,” the company noted.

In the week ended May 17, same-store sales at full-service restaurants in Texas, Florida and Georgia — among the first states to ease coronavirus restrictions — were on average between 10 to 20 percentage points better than at the national level, said the company, which will release its “Restaurant Industry Snapshot” on June 4.

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Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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