Industry Trends December 2020

Now more than ever, restaurants must meet customers where they are. Yet, where they are now is changing rapidly.

Insights are the key to navigating these dynamic times. That’s why RMS compiles comparative data and consumer insights so you can make the best business decisions based on today’s challenges.

US Restaurant Trends

The following represents data collected as of November 29th. We observed improvements in traffic and sales trends during Thanksgiving week, despite the rise in COVID cases and new restrictions in parts of the US. Increases could be replicated during the December holidays, given similar conditions.

QSR v. TSR Traffic Growth

  • QSR YOY traffic remained at approximately -12% YOY in the month of November, but jumped up to 0% YOY during Thanksgiving week.
  • TSR performance has decreased significantly, dropping from -26% YOY to -40% YOY. The last time traffic was this low was in July when there was also a big wave of COVID cases throughout the nation. 

QSR v. TSR Sales Growth

  • QSR sales remained positive through November, particularly during Thanksgiving week, with sales going from 0% YOY to +10% YOY.
  • TSR YOY sales saw a big hit since last month’s -23% YOY and is now trending at -40% YOY.

YOY Traffic by Day Part

  • Dinner YOY traffic saw the biggest jump during Thanksgiving week, going from -13% YOY to 0% YOY. It seems that while some homes opted for a home cooked meal, many relied on restaurants to do the cooking.
  • Lunch YOY traffic remains stable at -13% YOY.
  • Breakfast YOY traffic continues to improve from last month’s -21% YOY and is now trending at -14% YOY.

YOY Traffic by Revenue Channel

The YOY trends are observed for QSR restaurants.
  • Delivery saw a slight decrease in traffic from +60% YOY to +54% YOY, while Drive-thru remains stable at +16% YOY.
  • Dine-in also remains stable at -43% YOY.

Consultant’s Corner

Why quickserves had an edge in the year of off-premises dining

SmartBrief’s Janet Forgrieve and RMS’ Chris Norton and Francois Acerra look back at 2020 and discuss how contactless channels helped QSR brands stay ahead this year. But what about 2021? Read the full article for a deeper look at our latest consumer insights.

How can automation help you understand your data?

“If there was ever a time to do a deep dive on every way that a customer interacts with you, that time is now.” In our second episode of Revenue StreamDr. Joel Davis talks about why and how predictive analytics and data are essential for brands right now to enhance customer service, loyalty and revenue. Watch the full episode here. Missed one of our previous episodes? Access our Revenue Stream playlist.


RMS stands 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.

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