NEW YORK — The second quarter of 2021 saw an upgrade in terms of consumer spending and foodservice visits compared to that period last year, according to The NPD Group.
The industry analyst said spending at restaurants was up 32% in the April-May-June 2021 quarter compared to the same quarter last year, and flat compared to the same quarter in 2019. Visits, dining in or off-premises, increased by 22% in the quarter compared to the same quarter last year and were down 7% compared to the second quarter of 2019.
Many establishments, especially quick-service restaurants, benefited from off-premises services like carry-out, drive-thru and delivery. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restaurant restrictions in the second quarter in 2020, off-premises orders increased by 9% over the same quarter in 2019, according to NPD. This year’s second quarter saw off-premises grow by 5% compared to a year ago.
“The US restaurant recovery is underway, but it will take time for it to return to pre-pandemic levels fully,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of “Eating Patterns in America.” “Commercial restaurants overall remain below 2019 traffic levels. The QSR segment, ideally suited to today’s new consumer realities, is performing very near pre-pandemic traffic levels with dollar volumes well ahead of that pace. On the other hand, FSRs still face headwinds such as dining room capacity restrictions in some places. Even where restrictions are minimal, labor shortages may keep operators from realizing their full operational capacity.”