Having taken a hit during the pandemic due to restrictions and closures, the foodservice sector is showing new signs of recovery. Suffering more than quick-service restaurants throughout the start of quarantine, fast-casual restaurants are regaining momentum as consumers return, showcasing an eight percent increase in online and physical visits compared to 2020.
"Fast-casual restaurants have capitalized on the lessons they learned during the pandemic," said David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. "Their customers are happy to return because so many fast-casual restaurants have built a strong clientele based on their innovation and ability to deliver a quality customer experience."
According to The NPD Group's daily tacking of the restaurant industry, fast-casual visits were down by 23 percent compared to the prior year in the quarter ending June 2020, at the height of pandemic lockdowns and restaurant restrictions.
While fast-casual restaurants tend to lack the drive-thru capabilities and off-premises operational efficiencies that traditional quick-service restaurants have, many put a focus on expanding their off-premises and drive-thru operations in the early months of the pandemic. These efforts resulted in an increase of 30 percent in fast-casual off-premises orders in August 2021. Within fast-casual, off-premises traffic went from being just over half of its traffic pre-pandemic to over 80 percent of traffic in the year ending August 2021, a press release noted.
As the foodservice sector shows promising signs of regrowth, Deli Market News will continue to bring you the latest updates and information.