CHICAGO — The restaurant industry continued to recover from pandemic-related losses in February, according to the market researcher Circana. Total restaurant visits rose by 2% during the month compared to a year ago, and quick-service restaurant visits, which represent 82% of total restaurant industry visits, rose 3%.
The full-service fine dining restaurant category experienced a 13% decline in visits.
Circana data showed strength in the morning and lunch dayparts. Morning meal restaurant visits grew by 10% in February compared to a year ago and are up 2% compared to three years ago.
“We’re seeing strong customer traffic at breakfast and morning snack, which means consumers are looking for convenience and portable meals and snacks,” said David Portalatin, Circana food industry adviser. “On the other hand, dinner and lunch visit growth has been slower due to home-centric behaviors being stickier at these dayparts.“At lunch, consumers have other choices, including bringing items from home or going to a workplace cafeteria, offering subsidized pricing or no-cost options. Additionally, the higher average check for lunch and dinner may make them less appealing to some consumers.”