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How 27 restaurant companies performed in the first half, giving full picture of the coronavirus pandemic’s initial impact

In their most recent quarters, most restaurants still saw dramatic same-store sales declines, but with sequential improvements as weeks went on

It’s been five months since the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns swept the United States in March, which means as restaurants reported their latest quarters, a full picture of COVID-19’s effect on the industry emerged for the first time.

For most companies, the quarter began while restaurant dining rooms were still closed and business was entirely off-premise. By the end of the quarter, dining rooms had opened in most of the country at various capacities, and consumers began to feel safer eating out again. As a result, even for companies that saw declines in same-store sales, there were usually sequential improvements week-to-week and month-to-month.

Unsurprisingly, limited-service brands with strong pre-existing off-premise programs performed the best. Domino’s, Papa John’s and Wingstop all recorded improvements, as did Popeyes. But other quick-service restaurants, including Popeyes’ sister brands Tim Hortons and Burger King, saw decreases in same-store sales.

Casual-dining brands also widely saw decreases in same-store sales, even as dining rooms were allowed to reopen, due in large part to capacity limits. Many full-service chains began implementing creative solutions, such as Shareable Family Packs from Denny’s and an all-new virtual brand, It’s Just Wings, from casual-dining stalwart Brinker International.

Click through to see how 27 restaurant companies performed in their latest quarters, and how they’re planning to move forward as the pandemic continues to impact sales.

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