Restaurant Trends March 2022

US Quick-Service Trends

The following is a snapshot of US QSR sales, traffic and average check trends for February 2022.

  • In February 2022, average check was up 7.3% compared to the same period in 2021.
  • Sales in February 2022 were up 4.8% compared to 2021.
  • February 2022 traffic was down -2.3% YOY.
Comparing month over month, average check slightly decreased from 7.5% in January 2022 to 7.3%. in February. Sales and traffic trends both saw a significant increase in the past month. Sales increased from a -0.8% YOY decline to 4.8% YOY growth. Traffic saw the biggest increase — though still down as compared to 2021, traffic in February was -2.2% YOY compared to -7.7% YOY in January.

Good news for QSR restaurants, the trends indicate that consumers are regaining confidence as COVID-19 cases relax and restrictions are lifted throughout the US. Furthermore, it appears that the drop in January’s performance was due to external factors, likely the rise in cases due to the Omicron variant, rather than a systemic shift in consumer demand. RMS will continue to closely observe QSR trends to assess factors affecting consumer behavior.

QSR operators should also consider the steep rise in Food At Home (FAH) prices. Though Food Away From Home (FAFH) is also increasing, the differential is significant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that restaurant prices (FAFH) increased by 6.8% YOY, the largest 12-month increase since December 1981. Grocery prices (FAH) are 8.6% higher YOY, the largest 12-month increase since April 1981. As consumers return to QSRs and face record-high grocery prices, now is the time for QSRs to communicate value meals, bundles and specials that outweigh the cost of cooking at home.

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Consultant’s Corner

QSR 2021 Performance Shows a Fundamental Change in Consumer Behavior

In an analysis of US quick-service restaurant (QSR) performance for 2021, traffic continued its post-pandemic decline, while average check showed double-digit increases. RMS’ Francois Acerra believes the trends demonstrate a fundamental change in consumer behavior. Read Modern Restaurant Management‘s Research Roundup to find out more.

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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