US restaurants that have managed to stay open during the COVID-19 crisis are seeing sales stabilise, if at a fraction of normal levels, thanks to developing their take-out and delivery capabilities.

Data from Nielsen CGA’s RestauranTrak service reveals that week-on-week sales actually grew by 11% in the week ending April 11 compared to the previous week, following a 7% increase the week before that.

That slight improvement, however, has to be set against the fact that overall sales in the week to April 11 were still down 72% on the same week last year, if a marginal improvement on the 75% fall seen the previous week.

Separate Nielsen CGA research, carried out among consumers in the states of New York, Illinois, Florida and California over the weekend of April 11 and 12, showed that 62% of consumers had ordered food take out in the last two weeks, consistent with the 66% from the previous two weeks.

Also, 9% of US consumers ordered a take out or delivery that included alcohol, with the number remaining higher for the younger demographic – with 17% of 21-34 year olds ordering a take out or delivery with alcoholic drinks.

Scott Elliott, SVP at Nielsen CGA, said: “Consumers across all categories are price conscious, but they are also looking for ways to perk up daily life under restrictions, showing alcohol has a space to continue growing sales. Suppliers have an opportunity to help retailers develop this part of their business through advising on the creation, promotion, containerization and dispatch of unique batched cocktails, cocktail kits and other innovative alcohol offerings.”

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