Restaurant Trends October 2020

Staying up to date with the latest insights is fundamental to meeting customers where they are now.

To help the restaurant industry navigate this ever-changing environment and make the best business decisions, we have collected the latest restaurant data and consumer insights.

US Restaurant Trends

Over the weeks to come we will be watching closely to see how these trends evolve as restrictions continue to change and weather in the northern hemisphere starts to cool down, reducing outside dining options for restaurants.

QSR v. TSR Traffic Growth

  • QSR performance remains stable with traffic trending at -10% YOY.
  • TSR YOY traffic has slightly improved since September from -33% to -29%.

QSR v. TSR Sales Growth

  • QSR sales remained positive through mid-August to September and are now at +4% YOY.
  • TSR YOY sales have also slightly improved over the past 4 weeks from -29 to -26%.

YOY Traffic by Day Part

  • Dinner YOY traffic continues to slowly and consistently improve, and now trends at -8% YOY. The dinner day part has remained at the -8% to -10% range for most of the summer season.
  • Lunch YOY traffic has caught up with dinner traffic and is now at -8% YOY. Lunch sales remain stable and have mirrored dinner traffic trends for the past month.
  • Breakfast YOY traffic trends have slightly improved to -21% YOY. While some percentage of the workforce has returned to the office, there is still a large portion that continues to work remotely affecting breakfast sales the most.

YOY Traffic by Revenue Channel

The YOY trends are observed for QSR restaurants.
  • Delivery outperforms all other revenue channels at +65%, followed by Drive-thru at +16% YOY.
  • Dine-in continues to see little to no change, likely due to increasing COVID cases and more closed dining rooms. Traffic remains down at -43% YOY.

Consultant’s Corner

Improving Restaurant Margins With Better Delivery Pricing

Delivery is on everyone’s mind right now. Restaurants traditionally oriented towards dine-in, have made significant moves to implement delivery options. As restaurants expand this contactless channel, they face a complex environment with higher costs to serve.

New research by industry thought-leader and revenue management experts, Sherri Kimes and Chaoqun Chen, highlights several opportunities for restaurants to improve their margin through better delivery pricing. Take a look at their takeaway here.

New Contactless Habits Aren’t Going Anywhere

Everything has changed and customers are settling into new rhythms. Chief among those new habits? Delivery, takeout and drive-thru. Take a look at insights from our latest report featured in Modern Restaurant Management magazine.


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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