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Dine-in traffic remains a headwind for U.S. restaurant industry recovery
Real Estate - NOVEMBER 5, 2021

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Dine-in traffic remains a headwind for U.S. restaurant industry recovery

by Andrea Zander

The U.S. restaurant industry continues to recover from last year’s steep declines, although it is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. Total restaurant online and physical visits were up 5 percent in the year ending September compared with the same period last year, and down 6 percent from September 2019. While restaurant visits continue to improve overall, dine-in or on-premises traffic continues to struggle compared with pre-pandemic levels, reports The NPD Group.

Dine-in visits to restaurants were down 48 percent in the 12 months ending September 2021 compared with the pre-pandemic level in the year ending September 2019. Off-premises orders, like carry-out, drive-thru and delivery, were up 20 percent versus two years ago September. Year-over-year, dine-in visits declined by 10 percent in the 12 months ending September compared with a year ago, and off-premises grew by 10 percent in the period.

Full-service restaurants (FSRs), which rely heavily on dine-in custome

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