CHICAGO — Transactions at major restaurant chains in the United States in the week ended May 24 declined 18% from the year-ago period, registering a 25-point gain from the steepest decline during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the week ended April 12, when transactions were down by 43%, according to The NPD Group. The resuming of on-premises dining at nearly 320,000 restaurant units nationwide drove the improvement.

At major full-service chain restaurants, transactions declined 49% from the same period of the prior year, improving nine points from the previous week’s decline of 58% from a year ago. Quick-service restaurant transactions fell 17% from the year before, up from the 20% drop tracked the week before.

In April, drive-thru at primarily quick-service restaurants accounted for 46% of all restaurant occasions, and digital orders increased 106% during the month compared to the prior year and represents 20% of all restaurant occasions, The NPD Group said.

“Among the most interesting behaviors we’re seeing is the rapid escalation of using technology to engage with restaurants,” said David Portalatin, food industry adviser at The NPD Group. “Going forward, we might expect a digital divide that sets apart restaurants with well-executed digital offerings and requires those without to turn to the newfound prowess of third-party platforms.”