2021 Was a Bumpy Road to Recovery for US Restaurant Industry, But It Ended the Year Better Off Than It Began

The US restaurant industry ended 2021 better off than the year began, even after facing a host of headwinds in 2021, the continuing pandemic, labor shortages, rising costs, to name a few, reports The NPD Group.

CHICAGO (PRWEB) February 01, 2022

The US restaurant industry ended 2021 better off than the year began, even after facing a host of headwinds in 2021, the continuing pandemic, labor shortages, rising costs, to name a few. Consumer spending at restaurants grew by 16% in the year ending December 2021 compared to a year ago when spending declined by 12% and was 2% above the pre-pandemic year ending December 2019, reports The NPD Group. Restaurant online and physical visits increased by 9% last year compared to the 12% decline in the 12 months ending December 2020. Although traffic is still down 4% compared to 2019, the restaurant industry is making some headway.

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Major restaurant chains, which hold the largest traffic share at 77%, grew online and physical visits by 7% in the year ending December 2021 compared to the same period a year ago, which is a 2% decline from 12 months ending December 2019. Independent restaurants and smaller chains, making up the remainder of visit share, increased online and physical traffic by 12% and 13%, respectively, in 2021 over a year ago. Visits to both independents and smaller chains are down 9% from 2019, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the US foodservice industry.

Quick service restaurant (QSR) online and physical visits, representing 82% of all restaurant orders in 2021, increased by 7% in the year ending December 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and traffic was down 1% compared to the year ending December 2019. Full-service restaurant visits, representing 18% of restaurant industry orders, grew by 18% last year, over a 29% decline ending December 2020 and 16% below traffic in the year ending December 2019.

Restaurant delivery, which grew orders by triple digits over the past two years, increased visits by 17% in the year ending December 2021 over an 89% gain in the 2020 12-month period. Despite substantial growth since the pandemic, delivery represents the smallest traffic share of off-premises modes at 11%. Drive-thru, which increased visits by 4% year-over-year, holds the largest share at 52%. Carry-out represented 37% of orders, which grew by 2% in the year ending December 2021 over last year. Digital orders placed through an app or website increased by 13% last year compared to a 100% increase in the year ending December 2020, and non-digital orders grew by 8% in 2021 over a 19% decline in 2020.

“Restaurant recovery continues on a year-over-year basis, especially compared to last year,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The industry’s recovery isn’t going to be a straight line moving upward based on the nearly two years of the pandemic so far; it’s going to be bumpy. That said, restaurant traffic should recover 98% of 2019 visits by the end of 2022.”

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About The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide have us help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, video games, and watches. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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