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Restaurant industry sales continue to improve in August: NPD Group

Share of digital transactions decrease

Restaurants continue to experience a recovery, with August sales posting a decrease of only 9 percent compared to last year, reflecting a 10 percent year-over-year traffic decrease, according to data from The NPD Group. Improvements appear to be gradual, notes the research firm, but its analysis differs from a recent National Restaurant Association analysis, which reported a slowing of sales improvement over the past two months.

In August, digital transactions have decreased to 17 percent from the 20-percent share that resulted in April, according to NPD Crest Data. Adult-only parties also continue to increase, suggesting there is more willingness to socialize and return cautiously to a new normal. While adult-only dining parties made up 59 percent of occasions in April (and 41 percent parties with kids), last month showed an uptick to 63 percent adult-only parties (and 37 percent with kids).

“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.”

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He notes that after months of being homebound, preparing meals or ordering in, consumers are ready for the “restaurant experience again.” Dining out has indeed seen a gradual, month-to-month improvement, NPD reports.

[Related article: More consumers expect restaurants to adopt safety measures]

To boost industry sales, the National Restaurant Association launched a Restaurant Revival marketing campaign to promote dining-in at restaurants. However, consumers appear to still be somewhat weary of the safety of dining out. According to foodservice consultancy Technomic, more consumers now are expecting restaurants to adopt certain safety measures than in the past.

[Related article: National Restaurant Association launches Restaurant Revival campaign]

Photo credit: Louis Hansel (featured preview image)

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