Customer transactions at US quick-service restaurants, which represent the bulk of restaurant industry transactions and have more off-premise business than full-service restaurants, decreased by 34 percent in the week ending March 22 compared to year ago, according to NPD’s Crest Performance Alerts, which provide a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick-service, fast casual, mid-scale, and casual dining chains.
Full-service restaurants, which are heavily reliant on dine-in sales, saw customer transactions dropped by 71 percent.
Total restaurant customer transactions declined by 36 percent in the week ending March 22, as mandated restaurant dine-in closures took effect in most states.
About 94 percent of US restaurants are under some level of restrictions, with most prohibiting on-premise service, NPD said.
On-premise represents 52 percent of restaurant industry dollars, and off-premise, such as carry-out, drive-through, and delivery, represent 48 percent of dollars. As of year ending February 2020, digital orders represented 13 percent of all off-premise dollars.
“It’s highly probable that this crisis will define winners and losers by their digital proficiency since consumers may prefer the contactless delivery protocol that digital ordering offers,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry analyst.
“Now that we’re living in a world where the entire industry is an off-premise business, digital orders gain importance and provide an edge to those who already lead in that space.”
With many independents falling into full-service and having limited carry-out options, 75 percent of traffic is going to chains, according to a separate Datassential study.