With spring this year comes a renewed sense of hope that is a little greater than usual: the weather is warming, plants are blooming, and vaccinations are rolling out, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic that rocked the globe.
While the pandemic itself is likely to stretch on for a few more months at the least, consumers, eager to take advantage of the optimism afforded by the rise in vaccinations and decline in cases, have been frequenting businesses more and more.
In Massachusetts alone, restaurants have experienced a huge lift in indoor dining – up about 37% from the start of February through the end of March, according to Paytronix data. But that uptick is not coming at the expense of online sales, and it’s earlier than CEO Andrew Robbins expected.
“I thought it was going to come later. . . in the May time frame,” Andrew told The Boston Globe. “A lot of this is improved sentiment. People are feeling better about things. They are tired of being in their cocoons.”
Across the country, Paytronix data shows only a 3% increase in online sales at restaurants from the first week of February to the last week of March; but in-store, that spend grew by 13% over the same time period, indicating that guests are beginning to opt for the on-premises experience now that it feels safe again. Overall, sales increased by 7% – a promising sign as the economy continues to recover from a tumultuous 2020.
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