Quick-Service Restaurants Recovered Faster Than Full-Service Following 2020

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows quick-service restaurants recovered faster than full-service restaurants from the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer spending at both full-service and quick-service restaurants initially fell following the onset of the Coronavirus, with noteworthy differences between the two. Before the pandemic, consumer spending at both quick-service and full-service restaurants was near or slightly above previous year levels. As of March–May 2020, spending at quick-service restaurants had dropped to about $20.1 billion, 15.4 percent lower than average spending a year earlier. Full-service restaurants experienced a more severe drop during this period, likely related to the mandates limiting in-person dining across much of the country. Spending fell to $7 billion, 51.7 percent lower than the year before. Quick-service restaurants recovered faster than full-service restaurants, with spending surpassing previous year levels for the last four months of 2020. In contrast, by the end of 2020, full-service restaurants retained a 24.8 percent drop in year-to-year spending.

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