Consumer online and physical restaurant visits in August continued to recover from last year’s steep declines, according to The NPD Group.

The market research company reports that US restaurant traffic increased by +5% over the -10% decline in August 2020 and declined by -5% compared to the pre-pandemic level in August 2019. Larger average check sizes drove a +13% increase in dollars compared to a year ago and a +3% gain in dollars over the same month two years ago.

“Overall, the state of the US restaurant industry today reflects the steady-state of the home-centric lifestyle that has us eating more meals at home,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “This behavior pre-dates the pandemic and will continue into the foreseeable future. To meet the needs of today’s restaurant consumers, restaurant operators need to think about getting meals and snacks into the home.”

Dine-in visits were down -34% in August compared to August 2019. Off-premises orders represent the majority (73%) of all restaurant visits in August. Delivery orders increased by +128% in August compared to the same month two years ago, and now represents 10% of off-premises visits, while carry-out visits, which represent 49% of off-premises traffic, increased by +6% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Drive-thru visits rose by +11% in August compared to August 2019 and represented 41% of off-premises visits in the month.