Further signs of sales erosion among restaurants came in the NPD Group Inc. report for the week ended March 29, which found customer transactions fell 42% across all segments as the coronavirus pandemic continued.
“While steep transaction declines are being seen industrywide, some restaurant models are better suited than others to retain existing off-premise business, like drive-thru, carry-out and delivery,” said the Chicago-based analytics company.
NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts found the percentage change from a year ago was down 40% for quick-service chains and down 79% for full-service brands. The CREST index measures transactions for 70 quick-service, fast-casual, midscale and casual-dining chains.
“The transaction declines partially reflect the struggle of on-premise restaurants to pivot to off-premise models,” said David Portalatin, NPD’s food industry adviser and author of “Eating Patterns in America,” in a statement.
“Many restaurants that are attempting to make the move are doing so with limited menu offerings and without the benefit of drive-thru lanes,” Portalatin said. “Anecdotally, some operators are giving up the cause and closing altogether.”
Dallas-based Black Box Intelligence, another analytics and data company, last week released data that indicated full-service restaurants in all states suffered sales declines of 60% as of April 1.
“Most full-service restaurants were able to increase off-premise sales but the offset of lost dine-in sales is low,” Black Box Financial Intelligence reported, noting that the midafternoon sales daypart “is holding up the best; late night is the worst.”
Among demographics, Black Box’ consumer intelligence division found Gen-Z consumers were spending 22% less year over year in restaurants and Baby Boomers aged 65 and older were spending 43% less comparatively in the same period.
The NPD Group’s restaurant census, or ReCount, found about 97% of U.S. restaurants are now under some level of restrictions at the state and city levels to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, NPD noted, “on-premise dining represented 52% of restaurant industry dollars, and off-premise, like carry-out, drive-thru and delivery, represented 48% of dollars.”
Carry-out represented the largest dollar share at 53% of off-premise modes and drive-thru represented 38%, NPD said. Delivery provided 9% of off-premise sales.
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