More Americans dine in at restaurants than take their food to-go

More consumers are eating meals in restaurants than taking their food to-go and eating elsewhere, according to The NPD Group. Why are more people dining in?

  • close
    Patrons sit down and start eating their meals at the Davenport Maple Farm restaurant in Shelburne, Mass. The number of consumers dining in at restaurants has increased 1 percent since last year, according to The NPD Group.
    Joanne Ciccarello/The Christian Science Monitor/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Consumers increasingly are taking a seat and eating meals in restaurants rather than picking up takeout or drive-thru meals to eat elsewhere, according to new data from The NPD Group.

On-premises dining has increased for three consecutive years and continues to grow while off-premises dining has been flat or down. For the 12 months ended in May 2015, dine-in visits were up 1 percent and takeout/drive-thru visits remained unchanged. For calendar year 2014, dine-in traffic was up 2 percent and off-premises visits declined by 1 percent. Sit-down dining represented $223.4 billion in restaurant sales last year; takeout/drive-thru sales were $200.3 billion or 47.3 percent of the total, NPD reports.

Quick-service restaurants have driven the shift in favor of in-restaurant dining: on-premises meals were up 5 percent at QSRs in 2015 and are up 3 percent for the 12 months ended in May. Takeout/drive-thru visits were flat for that period. This tilt in favor of sit-down dining may be the result of the continued growth of fast-casual concepts.

On-premises diners spend more than takeout/drive-thru diners, NPD says, but they are not necessarily loyal to their chosen restaurants. Just 34 percent of in-restaurant diners call themselves loyal, while 24 percent say they aren’t loyal at all and 42 percent are in the middle (somewhat loyal). But dine-in customers are in your restaurant: Give them reasons to return.

Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.