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Industry Trends June 2022

US Quick-Service Trends

Breakdown of Monthly QSR Trends

The following is a snapshot of US Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) trends for May 2022.

When compared to May 2021:

  • QSR net sales are up 3.4% YOY, positive news for operators after seeing negative sales results in April 2022 (-2.9%).
  • Traffic was down 4.1% compared to the same period in 2021. However, traffic is improving month-over-month. In April 2022, we reported QSR traffic trends down by -9.4%. We believe the gap is closing for two reasons: (1) consumers are eating out more frequently and (2) traffic spiked in April and May 2021 due to pent-up restaurant demand and easing of COVID restrictions.
  • Average check was up 7.8% compared to May 2021 and continues to drive net sales. In addition, average net price was up 11.8% in May 2022 compared to last year, while basket size was down -3.6%.

Daypart Trends

  • Lunch and dinner traffic are both declining compared to May 2021. Lunch is down -2.0% and dinner -1.8%. However, both dayparts saw an approximate 1% increase over last month.
  • Breakfast traffic returned to the positive traffic trends we observed throughout 2021 and Q1 2022. Traffic increased 0.2% YOY, following a sizable drop in April (-2.9% YOY). We will continue monitoring breakfast to determine the effects of back-to-office and other post-pandemic trends.

Consumers Continue to Control Their Spend

Digging deeper into sales, higher prices (+11.8% YOY) continue to drive increases in check performance. Basket sizes remained on a steady decline, down -3.6% compared to May 2021, likely due to the current inflationary environment. Compared to last month’s report, quantity per transaction decreased by 1.6%.

Shrinking basket size and slowing traffic are consistent with reported consumer behavior. In our Q1 consumer report, 37% of respondents reported spending less of their disposable income on restaurants than last year. In addition, when asked how they were spending less, 1 in 3 reported trade-down behaviors, with 34% ordering less expensive items and 30% opting for less expensive restaurants.

A Slight Comeback for Dine-in

The star of May was dine-in. The channel contributed a positive 3.1% to overall QSR traffic compared to last year. Dine-in now represents 10.4% of average daily traffic (up from 6.9% last year).

Drive-thru performance contributes significantly to the decline in overall traffic performance. May performance slightly improved, with decreases of -9.9% YOY compared to -12.5% in April.

As restaurants proceed with caution in the current inflationary environment, data-driven solutions based on specific guest patterns can help.  Reach out today with questions.  We’re here to help.

Consultant’s Corner

Is It Time to Ease Up on Restaurant Menu Price Hikes?

For consumers over the past year, the freedom and joy of leaving the house outweighed any price sensitivities. That dynamic is changing. As a result of overall inflation and increasing menu prices, consumers are making hard decisions. Industry experts, including RMS’ Richard Delvallée, weigh in on how the current environment affects dining behaviors in a recent article published by Nation’s Restaurant News.

How Can Restaurants Balance Today’s Value Equation?

Balancing profitability while meeting today’s consumer needs presents a challenge for restaurant brands. In this Quick Bites, TGI Fridays CEO Ray Blanchette provides actionable tips on how brands can improve their value equation. For more tips and insights, watch our newest Revenue Stream episode, “Rethinking Today’s Restaurant Experience & Value Equation.”


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

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