On-premise Performance On The Upswing

It’s been a rough few months for full-service restaurants and bars, but things are starting to look up, according to the Nielsen CGA data. Among the states tracked, sales velocity in the week to May 30 improved to 39% below the norm, representing a 118% increase from March 28, when on-premise closures accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The average on-premise transaction/purchase dollar value is also on the rise and now 21% lower than pre-COVID norms—an improvement from being down 50% at its lowest. Sales velocity increased 15% for the week of May 30 compared to the week of May 23.

Although the on-premise sector remains more restricted in New York, Illinois and California, velocity in these states has continued to climb. Texas outperforms the wider U.S. and several other states in sales velocity trends: In the week to May 30 velocity was down just 29% vs. the norm, while week-over-week growth continues to improve in Texas with an 11% increase for May 30 vs. May 23.


Sales velocity has continued to grow in Florida as well, up 15% to May 30 (now down 39% vs. pre-COVID norm), with Tampa continuing to fare better than the rest of the state. Orlando is making a strong recovery after seeing some of the steepest declines at the start of April.

Two days in May saw on-premise velocity outperform the norm: the Mother’s Day and Memorial Day holidays. Mother’s Day saw velocity grow by 159% vs. Sun., May 3, while also being up 71% vs. Sat., May 9. While Memorial Day performance was not quite as robust, velocity increased 56% vs. Mon., May 18. Still, Nielsen notes, it’s an indication that the on-premise remains a key part of holiday celebrations or events.

Feature photo by Danielle Rice on Unsplash.


Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine, our on-premise sister publication. Read her recent story, America’s Fastest-Growing Wine Brands.


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