Sales across restaurants and bars in the US grew by 25% week-on-week between May 9 and May 16 as a number of major states reopened for business.

Latest data from Nielsen CGA* show that while national sales are still 54% down on pre-COVID levels, the opening up of the out-of-home market in states such as Texas, Florida and Georgia has provided a fillip for the industry. When lockdown first hit, overall sales fell by 80%.

Results from the Nielsen CGA RestauranTrak dataset show that the improving national trend has been driven by states like Texas, where two weeks after reopening bars and restaurants sales are now only 32% below the pre-COVID norm, and have shown week-on-week of 29% up to May 9 and 21% up to May 16.

In Texas, Houston has delivered the greatest week-on-week growth across the major cities, with Dallas broadly in line with the state average, and Austin underperforming.

Florida has also delivered substantial week-on-week growth over the last fortnight, up 29% and 30% in the weeks to May 9 and May 16, respectively, but has seen different trends in different cities.

While Tampa has outperformed the state average, in Miami where the out-of-home market is still heavily restricted growth has been more limited, while Orlando has performed somewhere between the two. Overall Florida is trading at 48% below normal levels.

In Georgia week on week growth of 22% and 28% over the last two weeks mean that overall sales are now 46% down on pre-COVID norm.

Even, in New York, California and Illinois, were bars and restaurants remain closed, sales growth driven by take-out and delivery has continued to improve week-on-week as both the market and consumers continue to adapt to the new trading style.

In New York State week-on-week sales grew by 13% to May 16 following a 3% rise in the previous week. Overall sales are down 70% on the norm, but have improved from being 85% down at the start of lockdown. The trends in California and Illinois are similar.

“The research from the States should provide some encouragement for UK operators waiting to reopen, in that it shows how business can pick up in a relatively short period of time. Trading at around 50% of previous levels is a good start, but also shows work will be needed to maintain momentum and encourage people back out. It’s also worth remembering that even for restaurant, take-out and delivery sales are more developed and helped underpin business during lockdown and will remain an important part of the sales mix,” said Phil Tate, global chief executive of CGA.

*Nielsen CGA is the Chicago-based arm of CGA, the international insight and research specialist for the out-of-home food and drink market.

For more information about Nielsen CGA’s COVID-19: On Premise Impact Report, email or visit


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