As bars and restaurants across the United States close or significantly reduce their operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have switched focus to take-out food and drink.
Before the outbreak, take-out accounted for 11% of spend in US restaurants, but latest figures from Nielsen CGA’s RestaurantTrak dataset shows that for sites still operational, take-out sales grew 110% in the week ending March 28.
Consumer research conducted by Nielsen CGA in the four major states, New York, California, Illinois and Florida, revealed that 66% of people say they have ordered a take-out or delivery in the past two weeks.
Nonetheless, even for those restaurants and bars that have been able to stay open, overall sales still fell 77% in the same week.
“This shows that even though some outlets have switched to a take-out only operation, survival will still be difficult if check values remain at this low level,” said Nielsen CGA Senior Vice President Scott Elliott.
The research may provide some context for UK operators now moving into takeaway and delivery. The survey showed that of those ordering take-out or delivery in the US, over 1 in 3 have been ordering food from venues they have eaten or drank in before.
Also, 15% are ordering take out or delivery with alcoholic drinks, behaviour more popular with younger consumers, with one-in-four 21-34 year olds buying alcohol with take out.
Wine along with imported or craft beer were the most frequently purchased drinks, with the top factors influencing the choice being ease and safety. Overall, 58% said they wanted to avoid a trip to get food and drink at the grocery store, supermarket or liquor store.