US restaurant recovery got back on track in February after January declines, according to The NPD Group. Online and physical restaurant traffic was up 2 percent and consumer spending was up 8 percent in February compared to a year ago.

Total restaurant visits in the month were down 8 percent from the pre-pandemic level in February 2020, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the US foodservice industry.

Quick service restaurants saw a 1 percent increase in February traffic compared to a 7 percent decline in February last year. This February, online and physical visits to full-service restaurants increased by 6 percent, over a 22 percent decline the same month last year.

“February began with visits soft as omicron suppressed consumer sentiment for dining out. On the other hand, the back half of February benefitted from comparisons to last year’s historic winter deep freeze,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Looking ahead, we should see some seasonal demand start to heat up in March and COVID-related concerns diminishing. The wild card will be how consumers respond to ongoing inflation, including $4-plus per gallon gasoline.”