Sales and customer traffic levels remained dampened in May

A strong majority of restaurant operators reported lower same-store sales for the third consecutive month, though May’s results represented a slight improvement from the previous two months, according to the National Restaurant Association’s monthly tracking survey. Thirteen percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales increase between May 2019 and May 2020, up from less than five percent in both March and April.

The improvement in the aggregate May results was driven largely by stronger sales readings in the quickservice and fast casual segments. However, both segments continued to report net negative sales results in May.

Restaurant operators: Want to know how your business compares to similar restaurants on a monthly basis? Find out by taking a few minutes to participate in the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey. All survey respondents receive exclusive access to the detailed survey results each month, broken out by industry segment and type of ownership.

Customer traffic also remained dampened, with 87 percent of operators saying their customer traffic levels declined between May 2019 and May 2020. This was only a modest improvement from the proportion of operators who reported traffic declines in March (98 percent) and April (100 percent).

Track more economic indicators and read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.