CHICAGO – Market researcher The NPD Group said US restaurant transactions for the week ended April 5 declined 41% when compared to the same period of the previous year. The decline follows the prior week of March 29 when transaction declined 42% compared to a year ago.

“The 41% decline in restaurant transactions is similar to last week and may indicate a bottom,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of “Eating Patterns in America.”

But Mr. Portalatin emphasized that a weakening of the economy may cause the situation to worsen.

“To date, many consumers have continued to buy restaurant meals through delivery, takeout, and drive-thru to the degree allowed by the restrictive environment; but with rising unemployment, payroll reductions, and temporary furloughs, consumers may begin to think differently about their food budgets overall,” he said.

Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) fared better than the overall category during the week of April 5, because established drive-thru and takeout operations. Transactions at QSRs during the period declined 38%. In contrast, full-service restaurants experienced transaction declines of 79% when compared to the same period a year ago.