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Restaurants Are Rebounding -- At Least Those With Carryout

  • Chains focused on drive-thrus and takeout are seeing a rebound
  • Business remains well below pre-pandemic levels, however
An employee hands out takeout orders to customers outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Brooklyn, New York on April 15.
An employee hands out takeout orders to customers outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Brooklyn, New York on April 15.Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

The switch from negative to positive came so fast that it took the CEO of Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit by surprise.

Laura Rea Dickey, who helms the chain of about 500 locations that serves spicy kielbasa sausage, pulled pork and chopped brisket, said sales plunged 38% from recent levels in March amid commerce restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19. It was a rapid descent that she described as a “shock to the system.” But this “basement” has turned around faster than she expected.