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U.S. Restaurant Dollar and Traffic Declines Ease in August as Consumers Gain Comfort in Dining Out

While August restaurant trends reflect an environment in which slightly less than 25% of restaurant units were under restrictions for on-premises dining during the course of the month, similar to June and July, the rate of traffic and dollar declines for the month eased slightly to  -10% and  -9%, respectively, compared to same period year ago, reports The NPD Group.

“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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Sep 24 2:36 PM, General News



U.S. Restaurant Drive-Thrus are Proving Their Value During the Pandemic and Beyond 

Drive-thru restaurants have always been the ultimate in convenience and speed but during the pandemic, especially during the mandated dine-in closures, they were also a lifeline for the restaurants that had them, reports The NPD Group. Drive-thru restaurant visits increased by 26% in the April, May, and June quarter and represented 42% of all restaurant visits.

In July when more restaurants were reopened, drive-thru visits still increased by 13%, the highest visit increase among the service modes of on-premises, carry-out, and delivery, according to NPD’s daily tracking of U.S. consumers’ use of restaurants and...

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Sep 2 8:28 AM, General News


National Restaurant Association Launches Restaurant Revival Campaign 

The National Restaurant Association is highlighting its new multimedia Restaurant Revival Campaign. The national ad taps into the sights and sounds associated with dining out and asks diners, "Doesn't dining out sound good?"

"This campaign is about reigniting the memories we cherish about dining out. While diners have been able to enjoy some restaurant meals through take-out and delivery, we all have missed hearing the words, 'Your table is ready,' and the unique experiences that dining out provides," said Tom Bené, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "We know safety is top of mind for returning diners...

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Sep 1 8:23 AM, Urner Barry


U.S. Restaurant Chain Customer Transaction Declines Remain Relatively Flat

U.S. major restaurant chain customer transactions were down 11% in the week ending July 26 versus year ago, reports The NPD Group. This is a modest improvement from the 12% decline versus year ago in the prior week, and a continuation of the relatively flat pattern seen over the last several weeks, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing 53% of the commercial restaurant traffic in U.S.

Customer transactions at major quick service restaurant chains were down 11% in the week ending July 26 compared to a year ago and were flat from the prior week, week ending July 19. Full service restaurants improved slightly with customer transactions down...

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Aug 5 8:23 AM, General News


U.S. Full Service Restaurants Struggle as Visit and Transaction Declines Stay in the Double-Digits

Full service restaurants (FSRs) were still recovering from the Great Recession, which ended over ten years ago, when the COVID pandemic hit along with shelter-at-home orders and mandated dine-in closures. With most of FSR business being on-premises dining, these sit down, table service restaurants were hit hard.

Visits to FSRs were down 47% in the April, May, and June quarter, the height of the mandated dine-in closures, compared to same quarter year ago, reports The NPD Group. Quick service restaurants (QSRs), which already have developed off-premises operations like carry-out and drive-thru, realized...

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Aug 3 8:24 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Industry Recovery Stalls with No Improvement in Transaction Declines in Six Weeks

COVID case surges across the country and the subsequent rollbacks in re-opening plans have stalled the U.S. restaurant industry’s recovery, reports The NPD Group. Major restaurant chain customer transaction declines have been between 11% and 14% versus a year ago since the second week of June compared to the steady improvement in declines from the last week in April through the second week in June.

In the week ending July 19, major restaurant chain total customer transactions are down 12% versus year ago, compared to 14% in the prior week, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing...

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Jul 29 8:22 AM, General News


U.S. Quick Service Restaurant Chains Drive Customer Transaction Declines in Week Ending July 12 

Total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by 14% in the week ending July 12 versus year ago, compared to 11% in the prior week. Quick service restaurant (QSR) chains drove the decline, decelerating 4-points to 13% year-over-year while full service restaurant (FSR) chains improved declines by 3-points to 26% year-over-year.

A reversal from last week when FSRs drove the declines and QSRs fueled the improvement in declines, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing...

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Jul 22 8:24 AM, General News


COVID-19 Case Spikes Continue to Hinder U.S. Restaurant Recovery in Week Ending June 28

The recovery of U.S. restaurant customer transactions has stalled for the second week in a row as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in a number of states, reports The NPD Group. For the week ending June 28, total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains are down 14% versus the same week a year ago.

Last week, week ending June 21, total transactions were down 13% versus year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 72 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

The rise in COVID-19 case counts is causing local and state authorities to delay reopening, and in some cases, reinstating on-premise restaurant dining restrictions. In Texas, for example, restaurants may continue to...

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Jul 8 8:20 AM, General News


After Two Months of Steady Improvements, Restaurant Recovery Hits a Bump as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by 13% in the week ending June 21 versus the same week a year ago, which is slightly softer than the 12% decline in the previous week, reports The NPD Group. This is the first time since the week ending April 12 there has not been an improvement in the year-over-year trend. COVID-19 case surges in a number of states contributed to the backtrack in decline improvements. The current period also included Father’s Day, which unlike Mother’s Day, is more of a backyard BBQ occasion than a restaurant dining event.

With new COVID-19 cases suddenly surging across multiple states, some of the states that have been reporting the highest number of new cases experienced steeper declines in major restaurant chain customer transactions in week ending June 21. Arizona, with a well-publicized surge in cases, saw a 5-point decline in...

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Jul 2 8:21 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Chain Transaction Declines Continue to Soften, Down 14% in Week Ending June 7

U.S. major restaurant chain transactions were down 14% in the week ending June 7 versus the same week a year ago, a 29 point gain from the steepest decline during the COVID-19 pandemic of  43% in week ending April 12, reports The NPD Group.  Sixty-nine percent of restaurant units are now in geographies that permit some level of on-premise dining and the number should increase to 74% in week ending June 14.

Major full service restaurant (FSRs) chains are still seeing the most improvement of restaurant segments as more dining rooms open and those already open increase capacity...

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Jun 16 8:12 AM, General News


70% of Grocery Shoppers Can Find Foods They Want, While 30% Are Still Experiencing Out of Stocks

The grocery cases and shelves that were left barren in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the most part, are back to their pre-COVID states. In the week ending May 28, 68% of U.S. grocery shoppers reported to The NPD Group that they hadn’t encountered any out of stocks of the foods and beverages they were shopping for during the week. This wasn’t the case for 32% of shoppers who did experience out of stocks when they shopped for foods and beverages during the week ending May 28, according to the findings of NPD’s NET® COVID-19 Pantry & Food Strategy Tracker...

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Jun 11 8:18 AM, General News


Restaurant Transaction Declines Continued to Improve in Week Ending May 31

Nearly three months have passed since most U.S. restaurant dine-in operations were ordered to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and this week more than 68% of all restaurant units are in states, counties, or municipalities where they are permitted to reopen their on-premise dining service. This does not mean all restaurants in those areas have reopened, but it is an indicator of loosening regulations.

With a growing number of restaurant dine-in services reopening, major restaurant chain customer transactions have been improving, reports The NPD Group. In the week ending May 31, U.S. restaurant chain transactions declined by 18% compared to same period year ago, a 3%...

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Jun 10 8:18 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Chain Transactions Down 18% Compared to Year Ago but Continue to Improve 

With nearly 320,000 restaurant units in the U.S. now allowed to offer some level of on-premise dining, customer transaction declines at major restaurant chains continued to improve in the week ending May 24, reports The NPD Group. Total major restaurant chain transactions declined by 18% in the week compared to same week year ago, a 25 point gain from the steepest decline during the COVID-19 pandemic of 43% in week ending April 12, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Major full service chain restaurant transactions declined by 42% versus same time year ago, a 7 point improvement from the prior week’s decline of...

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Jun 3 8:07 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurants Continue Slow Recovery in Week Ending May 17 as More States Reopen

Customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by 21% in the week ending May 17 compared to same period last year, a slight gain from last week’s 23% decline and the fifth consecutive week of improvement, reports The NPD Group. Major quick service chain restaurants, which represent the majority of restaurant transactions, improved transaction declines to 20% in the week compared to a 21% decline in the prior week from year ago, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Continued improvement in restaurant chain transaction declines was aided by adding 93,000 restaurant units in states where restrictions to on-premise dining were lifted from the week ending May 10 to the week ending May 17. These openings are more critical for...

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May 28 8:13 AM, General News


States Reopening and Mother’s Day Help to Continue Improvements in Restaurant Transaction Declines

U.S. restaurant chain transaction declines continued to improve for the fourth consecutive week in the week ending May 10 as more states reopened and America’s mothers were honored with a meal they didn’t need to cook. Large chain restaurant customer transactions were down 23% compared to a year ago, improving from a 26% decline the prior week, reports The NPD Group.

Large full service chain restaurants benefitted from a Mother’s Day lift, with transaction declines up 39% versus the prior week, although still down 58% compared to year ago. Transactions at large quick service chain restaurants declined by 21% in the week ending May 10 compared to year ago, versus...

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May 20 8:11 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Chain Transaction Declines Improve for Three Consecutive Weeks

Lingering tailwinds from government relief payments and the lifting of dine-in restrictions in states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas helped to improve U.S. restaurant chain transaction declines in the week ending May 3, reports The NPD Group.

For the week ending May 3 total transactions were down 26% from year ago compared to a 32% decline the prior week and a decline of 43% the week ending April 12, the low point of the COVID-19 disruption, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for...

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May 13 8:14 AM, General News


While Total U.S. Restaurant Traffic Declines by 22% in March, Digital and Delivery Orders Jump

March is supposed to come in like a lion and leave like a lamb, but with 97% of U.S. restaurants impacted by mandated dine-in closures by mid-March, the month left like an angry lion for America’s foodservice industry. Restaurant traffic declined by 22% in the month compared to same month year ago, but a testament to the U.S. consumers’ want for someone other than themselves to make their meals, digital restaurant orders increased by 63% and delivery by 67% in March, reports the NPD Group.

Visits to quick service restaurants (QSR), many of which already had off-premise operations, like carry-out and drive-thru, in place prior to the dine-in closures, decreased by...

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May 11 8:11 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Chain Transaction Declines Continue to Ease in Week Ending April 26

U.S. restaurant chain transactions showed improvement for the second week in a row in the week ending April 26 with total industry customer transactions down 32% compared to a 36% decline the prior week, reports The NPD Group.

Transactions at quick service restaurants were down 30% in week ending April 26 versus year ago, and full service restaurants improved slightly this week, declining 71% versus a 72% decline last week, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for...

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May 6 8:17 AM, General News


Coronavirus Relief Checks Help Ease U.S. Restaurant Transaction Declines in Week Ending April 19

Likely buoyed by the coronavirus relief payments received from the government, consumers increased their restaurant transactions in the week ending April 19 relative to week ending April 12, easing the previous weeks’ declines, reports The NPD Group.

Although the industry is still at historic lows compared to year ago, restaurant customer transactions declined by 36% compared to a 43% decline the prior week, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for...

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Apr 29 8:18 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Transaction Declines May Have Bottomed Out in the Week Ending April 5

U.S. restaurant customer transactions declined by 41% in the week ending April 5 compared to year ago, following a 42% decline in the prior week ending March 29, which may indicate the industry is bottoming out, reports The NPD Group. The apparent “bottom” is likely due to the full effect of on-premise dining closures throughout the country and the industry’s collective ability to convert to off-premise modes, like carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru.

“The 41% decline in restaurant transactions is similar to last week and may indicate a bottom. We also need to be aware that further erosion could occur if consumers’ economic situations worsen,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “To date, many consumers have...

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Apr 15 8:14 AM, General News


Restaurant Customer Transactions Declined by 42% in Week Ending March 29

The majority of U.S. restaurants are now impacted by mandated dine-in closures, reports The NPD Group. Restaurant customer transactions dropped by 42% in the week ending March 29 compared to same week year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

While steep transaction declines are being seen industry-wide, some restaurant models are better suited than others to retain existing off-premise business, like drive-thru, carry-out, and delivery. Quick service restaurants, which historically have more off-premise business, realized transaction declines of...

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Apr 8 8:18 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Chain Transactions Drop by 36% as Mandated Restaurant Dine-In Closures Take Effect

The mandated restaurant dine-in closures that took effect in most states beginning the week ending March 22 took a toll on U.S. restaurant transactions, reports The NPD Group. Total restaurant customer transactions declined by 36% in the week ending March 22 compared to same week year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Customer transactions at quick service restaurants, which represent the bulk of restaurant industry transactions and have more off-premise business than full service restaurants, decreased by...

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Apr 1 8:17 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Customer Transactions Decline by 8% in Week Ending March 15

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading throughout the country, more people working from home, and social distancing guidance in place, U.S. restaurant customer transactions declined by 8% in the week ending March 15 compared to year ago, reports The NPD Group.

In the prior week ending March 8, the quick service restaurant chain “breakfast wars” helped to drive a 4% increase in total U.S. restaurant customer transactions compared to year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides...

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Mar 25 8:21 AM, General News


Quick Service Breakfast Wars Help Drive Transactions Up Despite Coronavirus

The 24/7 news cycle around the coronavirus (COVID-19) didn’t deter consumers from sampling an array of breakfast promotions offered by quick service restaurant (QSR) chains last week. The QSR chain “breakfast wars” helped to drive a 4% increase in total U.S. restaurant customer transactions for the week ending March 8 compared to same period year ago, reports The NPD Group.

QSR chains, which represent the bulk of U.S. restaurant customer transactions, also grew transactions by 4% in the week ending March 8, the highest gain in...

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Mar 17 8:58 AM, General News


Solo Diners Represent the Largest Share of U.S. Restaurant Visits Among Party Sizes

Over the last five years, solo diners, or parties of 1, have increased their share of restaurant visits while other party sizes have declined, reports The NPD Group. Last year solo diners represented 35% of restaurant visits whereas parties of two represented 27% of visits, parties of three, 14%, parties of four, 12%, and parties of 5 or more, 13%. Solo diners made 15.4B restaurant visits in the year ending December 2019, an increase of 1% compared to year ago, with the exception of parties of 4, visits from all other party sizes declined, according to NPD’s ongoing foodservice market research, CREST.

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) get the bulk, 89%, of solo diners’ visits and 10% of their visits go to full service restaurants. Their use of QSRs is about 10% higher than...

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Mar 5 8:21 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Customer Transactions Increased in January Compared to Year Ago

Customer transactions at U.S. restaurant chains were up in January, a benefit of milder weather compared to a year ago when extreme weather conditions, including a polar vortex and above average precipitation, hit many areas of the United States.

For the retail weeks ending January 6 through February 2, total restaurant transactions increased by 2% over same time last year and quick service restaurant (QSR) chains were the primary contributor to these gains, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides...

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Feb 12 9:28 AM, General News


Breakfast Remains a Deeply Rooted Institution in the U.S. and Its Future is Bright

Breakfast means breaking a fast and whether consumed at 6 a.m. or 11 a.m., it’s always been an important meal in the U.S. Last year Americans consumed nearly 102 billion breakfasts, with another 50 billion morning snack occasions rounding out the average morning, reports The NPD Group. And, the future of breakfast looks rosy too with forecast growth of breakfast foods that meet consumers’ primary needs of function, convenience, and enjoyment, according to NPD’s recently released Future of Morning study, which illustrates how morning foods are changing today and into the future.

“While breakfast as an institution is deeply rooted, the what, how, and why surrounding our food and beverage choices and...

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Jan 29 8:24 AM, General News


NPD Group: Holiday Cheer Spurred Transaction Gains for Quick Service Restaurants in December

Quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, which represent the bulk of industry transactions, had four consecutive weeks of transaction increases in the retail month of December (December 2 through January 5) and were the primary contributor to the total industry gains in the month, reports The NPD Group. Casual dining chains, on the other hand, began the month stable but saw transaction declines in the last three weeks of the month. Midscale/family dining chains, despite a drop in the last week, finished the month flat, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and...

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Jan 17 9:46 AM, General News


NPD Group: Most U.S. Consumers Read the Nutrition Facts Label

Food companies with annual sales of at least $10 million began following the federal government’s updated nutrition facts labeling rules on January 1. Since the majority of consumers, nearly 90%, do read the labels, it’s an important information source for them, reports The NPD Group.

The top two items consumers look for on the labels are sugars and calories, both of which had an update with the new labeling rules. Fifty-seven percent of consumers who read nutrition facts labels look for sugars, and 45% of adults say they look at the nutrition facts label to find information on calories, according to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Service. On the new label, calories are...

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Jan 10 8:17 AM, General News


NPD Group: Thanksgiving Week is Synonymous with Food but Not with Restaurant Transactions

Restaurant transactions for Thanksgiving week, the week ending December 1, were down 7% compared to same week last year (Thanksgiving was a week earlier in 2018), reports The NPD Group. Restaurant transactions declined by 8% for both the casual dining and quick service restaurant segments during Thanksgiving week, according to CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 73 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Midscale/family dining restaurants, which offer sit down breakfasts, pies, and other desserts, realized an 18% increase in transactions during Thanksgiving week compared to same period year ago. Restaurant transactions for...

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Dec 12 8:19 AM, General News


NPD Group: Growth in Mobile Holiday Shopping Benefits Stores

Twenty-five percent of online shoppers plan to use a smartphone for holiday shopping, and they are more likely than those who use other devices to buy online and pick up in store (BOPUS), according to insights from the 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey from The NPD Group. Smaller mobile screens have been taking on more of the shopping workload in recent years, growing from just 19% two years ago, and this can be a positive thing for physical retail doors.

“The consumer’s adoption of mobile shopping can lead them to the store, where most impulse spending takes place,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. “This further demonstrates the importance of a seamless retail approach in keeping up with...

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Nov 27 8:39 AM, General News


NPD Group Releases Report on Eating Patterns in America 

A burger has held the crown as the top food ordered at U.S. restaurants for decades, but this year that burger may well be a plant-based burger, according to this year’s edition of The NPD Group’s Eating Patterns in America, which is an annual compilation of the company’s daily tracking of U.S. consumption behavior. U.S. consumers may appear to be creatures of habit in their eating patterns but the foods they eat today have a modern twist that is influenced by a host of factors like ethnicity, age/generational group, and health/social consciousness.

“For 34 years The NPD Group has been tracking eating patterns in America and from a topline view many of the same foods are being consumed today as they were...

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Nov 13 10:25 AM, General News


Plant-Based Foods: Will They Stay or Will They Go?

The rapid growth of plant-based foods at retail and on restaurant menus has many in the food and foodservice industries questioning if the interest in plant-based food is a passing fad or a long-term trend. A new study by The NPD Group addresses this question and finds that the answer depends on the consumer and their reasons for consuming plant-based foods in the first place.

Millennials, born 1981-1996, are the top consumers of plant-based meat alternatives, finds the NPD study, The Future of Plant-based Snapshot. This generational group has adopted plant-based meat alternatives as a way to indulge sensibly while addressing their long-term health goals and animal treatment concerns. Gen Xers, born 1965-1980, are also a core consumer group of plant-based meat alternatives, and...

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Oct 29 9:19 AM, General News


Post-Summer Back to the Grind Kept U.S. Restaurant Transactions Flat in September

The post-summer back to business and school as usual kept U.S. restaurant transactions flat in September compared to year ago, reports The NPD Group. The month started out with transactions up but flattened as the month went on, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 73 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Transactions at quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, which represent the bulk of industry transactions, were flat in September compared to year ago. While the full service segments of casual dining and...

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Oct 16 8:19 AM, General News




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