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Restaurant Stats And Surveys From The Past Week: Signs Of Progress

Jayson Derrick

The restaurant sector continues to show signs of rebounding as some states now permit dine-in eating.

Small Progress

Transactions at major U.S. restaurants were lower by 21% on a year-over-year basis for the week ending May 17, according to an NPD Group survey released last week.

This marks not only a slight improvement from a 23% decline in transactions seen in the prior week, but the fifth consecutive week of improving trends, QSR reported.

Part of the momentum is attributed to major full-service chain restaurant transactions that improved by nine points in the week ending May 17. Specifically, transactions were down 49% from last year versus a 58% decline in the prior week.

"The reopening of restaurant dine-in services across the country will certainly continue to help drive improvements, but it's important to keep in mind that restaurant on-premise dining operations are not serving to full capacity because of safety protocols," David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of "Eating Patterns in America," said in a press release.

"Equally important to the industry's recovery is the consumer's comfort level with dining in at a restaurant now."

Summer Employment Concerns

The restaurant industry is the second-largest job creator during the summer months, with an average of more than 510,000 season jobs created over the past five summer seasons, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Restaurants typically start their summer hiring spree in April but unfortunately, the industry had to let go of more than 5 million workers in April.

This marks "by far" the largest monthly decline on record.

Needless to say, the 2020 summer season will be "dramatically different than normal," although some restaurants may be able to "bring on some semblance of a summer workforce."

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