Impact Report August 7, 2020

As we all create a new post-COVID normal, off-premise continues to be the go-to option for dining, leaving many restaurant brands thinking about how to adapt their stores for the future.

We will continue to help our clients navigate this ever-changing environment with restaurant data and consumer insights that allow them to make the best decisions for their brands. To help guide our clients this week, we have collected the following information for your consideration as of Friday, August 7:


While new COVID cases are starting to level off, numbers resulting from an early summer spike still remain high. As a result, restaurant traffic has slowed. In the US traffic is trending down, finishing the last week at between negative 10% and 15% YOY. In Asia, traffic has stabilized at negative 20% to 25% YOY and in the Middle East/Africa traffic decreased slightly to negative 15% – 20% YOY. Europe maintained YOY declines of 25% to 30% YOY, as we observed the prior week.

For the US


QSR sales and traffic have leveled off in recent weeks. Traffic is down 10% and 15% YOY, while sales are still neutral-positive, at between 0% and 5% YOY.

  • Drive-thru continues to outperform other channels. Drive-thru traffic is up between 15% and 20% YOY and sales increased 35% to 40% YOY.
  • With many dining rooms closed and stipulations still in place, dine-in continues to show YOY traffic and sales down between negative 65% and 70% YOY.

TSR continues to lag behind QSR and remains negative 35% to 40% YOY for both traffic and sales.

  • Delivery and to-go meals increased slightly this week and are up 100% YOY.
  • Dine-in traffic and sales hit their lowest point since June last week. This week is slightly better, with traffic and sales down 50% to 55% YOY.

Regional / Category

  • Mountain, East South Central and West North Central performed best this week with sales ranging between 0% and +5% YOY and traffic between negative 10% and 15%.
  • Coastal divisions (New England, Middle Atlantic, Pacific and South Atlantic) are still seeing traffic declines of 10% to 15% YOY and sales performing between -5% and +5% YOY.

For Europe

Traffic remained at negative 25% to 30% YOY and sales continue to trend neutral to negative, between even and +5% YOY.

For Asia

YOY overall traffic is stable between negative 20% and 25%. Sales increased slightly but remain between negative 20% and 25% YOY.

For Middle East/Africa

After a multi-week positive run, metrics decreased slightly with YOY traffic ending between negative 15% and 20%, and sales neutral-negative between 0% and -5% YOY.


Major Chains Re-Evaluating Location Portfolio

Major QSR groups may have fared better than independents, but they have not been completely immune to the pandemic’s effects. Both McDonald’s and Dunkin’ have made news recently with location closings. Both brands seem to be “scrubbing” their portfolios of underperforming locations, primarily located in retailers, including Speedway for Dunkin’ and Walmart for McDonald’s.

The closings are both a reaction to slower traffic and the changing demand for drive-thru and other contactless channels.

Pricing Activity

Plant Based Proteins

Restaurant menus continue to “reset” after COVID closures, and plant-based protein items are a hot item. Potentially as a result of increasing grocery sales of plant-based items at grocery stores, to add menu variety, or to create an opportunity for premium pricing, a growing number of restaurant brands are testing or adding plant based options, such as the Beyond Fried Chicken introduced by KFC in its Southern California locations.

Legislation for Delivery Pricing

Delivery pricing/premiums continue to affect pricing for both restaurants and third-party services. Adding another dynamic to the conversation is how local markets are litigating fee structures or imposing restrictions on what can and cannot be charged. Philadelphia for example, recently signed a bill with a that caps fees at a combined 15% and makes the delivery service’s cut more transparent.

Industry Strategy

Digital Discounts

Recent market changes have seen a move towards digital payments and away from traditional cash transactions (further reinforced by continued news of “coin shortages”). Those players already firmly entrenched in the digital marketplace are finding new ways to use cashless systems to incentivize guests. Panera, for instance, is the first to offer a cash-back reward for using Apple Pay, and Denny’s recently ran a promotion offering its loyalty-program members a chance to get free delivery for the rest of the year by placing orders through its Denny’s on Demand platform. As consumers continue to increase their use of digital platforms, its likely this trend will continue.

Restaurants Becoming Retailers

DoorDash announced the launch of its new channel, DashMart this week. The platform, advertised as “a new type of convenience store,” offers grocery and household products, with a section for restaurant businesses. Currently being tested in eight cities, DashMart will offer customers items from local and national restaurant brands including Cheesecake Factory and Nando’s.

You won’t find KFC’s Kentucky Fried Chicken X Crocs on DashMart, though. The branded shoes sold out in a half an hour. KFC is a veteran of co-marketing, but the trend seems to be expanding as a way to solidify customer loyalty. Burger King made headlines with its perfume release and Chipotle launched its “Chipotle Goods” site this week featuring fun, branded products, even upcycling avocado pits to dye some of its limited-edition items, many of which have already sold out.

Looking for new ways to reach customers during these unprecedented times? Reach out to us today for practical recovery strategies designed to optimize menu profitability, sales and financial profitability immediately.

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Now, more than ever, RMS is committed to doing all we can to support the restaurant industry. Our team of experts is ready to help put you on a path toward profitability.