Restaurant industry traffic decline in US remains steady at 10 percent in October

To-go orders surge, however, with delivery leading the charge

New data from foodservice research firm NPD provides more clarity on restaurant performance during October 2020. Quick-service chains and a sample of 75 US restaurant chains held their year-over-year transaction declines steady at 9 percent. Full-service restaurants continue to experience transaction declines that are more steep. These started at 16 percent down from last year during the first week and ended at 14 percent down during the last week of October, according to NPD Crest Performance Alerts.

In contrast, data-analytics firm Black Box Intelligence reported a year-over-year traffic decrease of 13.7 percent from last year. Its reporting also revealed a 7.5-percent drop in October in comparable sales.


To-go orders, including pickup, delivery and drive thru, increased by 22 percent from last year during the third calendar quarter. However, on-premises/dine-in orders declined 62 percent compared to last year. Pick-up orders, which had the largest traffic share of to-go, grew visits 46 percent. Delivery, with the smallest share at 9 percent, increased visits 106 percent from last year’s same quarter.

Drive-thru’s share of traffic is one of the largest at 44 percent share and has also has grown during the quarter up 27 percent Quarterly restaurant visits, according to NPD Crest foodservice research, declined by 10 percent during the quarter.

“The continuing pandemic, governmental restrictions, and relief funding are just a few of the uncertainties. But, what we do know for certain is that consumers continue to rely on restaurants and other foodservice outlets to prepare their meals, and there is pent-up demand while we wait for a return to normalcy.” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of “Eating Patterns in America.”


Photo credit: Louis Hansel (featured preview image)

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