The rate of traffic and dollar declines for the month of August at foodservice establishments eased slightly to -10% and  -9%, respectively, compared to same period year ago, reports The NPD Group.

Since April, when stay-at-home orders and mandated dine-in closures were at their peak, several areas of the industry have improved or returned closer to pre-pandemic levels over the last months, according to NPD’s CREST foodservice market research, which tracks how US consumers use restaurants and foodservice outlets.

Among the ways foodservice establishments have improved in recent months:

  • On-premises visits have improved every month since April as the mandated dine-in closures have lifted and restaurants were able to offer varying levels of dine-in capacity.
  • Digital orders accounted for over 20% of all restaurant occasions in April, but that number is down to 17% of occasions in August.
  • Dealing, a buy-one-get-one-free or other type of deal, was utilized in 30% of occasions in April but now only represents 27% of occasions in August.
  • In August, adult-only parties represented 63% of all restaurant occasions and parties with kids (families in most cases) represented 37%. In April, adult-only parties represented 59% of visit share and parties with kids 41% share.

“As the summer progressed and mandated restrictions were lifted, an increasing number of consumers became more comfortable dining out based on the safety protocols restaurants put in place,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “After months of staying at home and cooking their own meals or ordering in, they were ready for the restaurant experience again.”