CHICAGO — Customer transaction declines at major US restaurant chains improved into the single digits in the week ended Aug. 16 after 21 weeks of double-digit declines, The NPD Group reported.

Customer transactions were down 9% compared to the same period a year ago, a 35-percentage point gain from the steepest decline of 44% in the week ended April 12.

Recovery continued at a quicker pace for quick-service chains, with transactions down 8% compared to a year ago. Full-service chains, which were most impacted by mandated dine-in closings that slowly are being lifted,  saw transactions decline 19% year-over-year, a 57-percentage point gain from the steepest decline of 76% in the week ended April 12.

“Although transactions are still down, the move into the single-digits is a positive sign for the US restaurant industry,” said David Portalatin, food industry adviser at The NPD Group. “Although we’re stuck in neutral for now, I firmly believe there is still a lot of upside recovery for restaurants. My belief is rooted in one reality: Consumers are not willing to give up on the convenience and experience a restaurant meal brings to them and their families regardless of the barriers.”