COVID-19 Impact Report September 11, 2020

Sales and traffic trends have remained static for most of August and September indicating that customers are settling into new comfort levels and habits.

How can this affect your brand? Staying up to date with the latest insights is fundamental to meeting customers where they are now. To help our clients navigate this ever-changing environment and allow them to make the best decision for their brands, we collect the latest restaurant data and consumer insights weekly. The following information for your consideration is as of Friday, September 11:

Overview

For the US

QSR v. TSR

  • QSR performance entered its fifth consecutive week of stable traffic, trending at negative 10% to 15% YOY. Sales remain flat to positive 5% YOY.
  • TSR traffic and sales remain in the negative 30% to 35% YOY range.

Regional / Category

  • New England continues to outperform other regions, with traffic at negative 5% to 10% YOY and sales at positive 5% to 10% YOY.
  • Pacific, South Atlantic, Middle Atlantic and West South Central are still down with traffic between 5% and 10% YOY and YOY sales trending between positive 5% and negative 5%.

For Europe

Traffic remains down 20% to 25% YOY and sales are down 5% to 10% YOY.

For Asia

Overall traffic and sales remain static. Traffic is down 20% to 25% YOY and sales are down 25% to 30% YOY.

For Middle East/Africa

The Middle East/Africa traffic remains steady at negative 15% to 20% YOY and sales between 0% and negative 5% YOY.

Outlook

More Uncertainty Ahead

In a recent study conducted by Coca-Cola, only 45 percent of restaurant owners said they are confident that they would stay in business for the next 12 months. Nine percent shared that they were not confident at all. And after all the shelter-in-place orders, capacity limitations and new PPE requirements, their next biggest concern is a second wave of infections. Particularly as cooler weather approaches and consumers are still hesitant about dining in, restaurants are bracing themselves. To top it all off, the CDC recently released a statement linking positive COVID cases to restaurants and bars in 10 states.

What can operators do? RMS suggests that restaurant brands can benefit from deeper insights into how consumer behavior has shifted and focus on improving these channels as they will likely remain in demand for the remainder of the year.

Contactless channels remain a strong investment. Our recent consumer report reports steady growth across every channel, even as dine-in restrictions have eased. In fact, nearly 40% of consumers report using delivery, takeout and drive-thru more or much more vs. pre-pandemic and 24% report using meal kits more often.

We also recommend looking at your current menu and seeing where reductions can be made to help with simplicity and profitability. RMS VP Justin Pridon, offers these initial suggestions:

  • Considering product availability.
  • Factor in labor components like item complexity (“Can we make this with limited staff?”).
  • Compare items’ profitability to determine if each item should make the revised menu cut.
  • Shift consideration from “Can we do it?” to “Should we do it?”

For more insights on how to best navigate the current situation, be sure to explore our latest blog posts.

Pricing Activity

Pricing in the Time of Corona

“Should I take price?” has been the primary question from our restaurant clients of late. Our answer, surprisingly, remains the same now as it was pre-COVID: “That depends.” The dining experience has changed for the short-term, likely for the long-term and, potentially, forever. It’s time to start planning for success in a new environment and that means looking at menu design and pricing in new ways. RMS Vice Presidents Dora Furman, Chris Norton and Justin Pridon weigh in on how restaurants can assess customer sensitivity and pricing in the time of coronavirus.

Industry Strategy

Planning for the Future – the data that can shape a brand’s survival

When the pandemic started, brands had to make quick decisions based on the financial information on hand at the time. But six months down the line it is time to make new decisions. Access to real-time, data-driven insights enables brands to see the best way forward. When brands understand the financial pressures that individual stores face and how they affect the health of the entire organization, they can make critical cash flow projections. In the past, brands may have been hesitant to ask franchisees for anything other than P&L statements. Regularly requesting information like balance sheets, debt information and short-term obligations was not common.

Today, that information is a must to maintain the financial health of the entire organization and to find the best ways to support individual franchisees. RMS’ metiRi can provide franchise brands and franchisees complete financial transparency into the brand’s financial health with detailed sales data and a broad view of profitability, solvency and liquidity across your brand.

RMS stands at the ready to support restaurant brands through these ever-changing times. Reach out to us today for practical recovery strategies designed to optimize menu profitability, sales and financial profitability immediately.