Better days are ahead for the hard-hit restaurant sector. Consumer insights leader Todd Hale noted that the National Restaurant Association has projected foodservice sales will increase 11% in 2021 to $731 billion, after falling 24% in 2020 to $659 billion. Hale launched into his latest update and outlook webinar for members of the American Bakers Association. Hale, who is principal, Todd Hale, LLC, relayed his perspectives about consumer spending, baking, retail and restaurants.

NielsenIQ data indicates some 28% of households expect to visit restaurants and bars more this summer than in 2020, he added. This compares to 17% of households stating they will buy more groceries in a physical store this summer versus last and just 11% planning to buy more groceries online this summer.

With the economy opening up, retailers and restaurants are hoping to benefit from innovation strategies unveiled during the pandemic, Hale said.

“We’ve never seen anything like last year, not just in sales trends, but also in how restaurants and retailers were trying to innovate themselves back into growth,” he elaborated