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Industry Trends September 2022

US Quick-Service Trends

QSR US traffic is down 4.4% as compared to August 2021, but month-over-month traffic trends are stabilizing.

Pricing activity continues to climb. Monthly average price jumped from 13.9% in July 2022 to 16.3% in August, the highest reading since September 2020.

Breakdown of Monthly QSR Trends

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

When compared to August 2021:

  • Net sales YOY stayed positive at 5.2% in August 2022.
  • The increase in average check YOY (+10.1%) is still offsetting the decline in traffic trends YOY (-4.4%), resulting in continued positive net sales for the QSR segment.
  • QSR average price (+16.3%) continues to be at its highest since 2020 and basket size is down by 5.3%. The decrease in basket size indicates that some guests continue to cut back on restaurant spending. In our latest consumer report, which explores generational trends, 48% of boomers stated they are spending less on restaurants and 1 in 2 boomers reported getting less value from restaurants due to pricing and shrinkflation. Millennials, however, were more positive — 39% reported spending more on restaurants now versus last year. To access more insights like these download the full report in our suite of industry resources. To receive our exclusive consumer reports straight to your inbox, subscribe to our mailing list.

Daypart Trends

  • Breakfast traffic remains relatively stable, down just -0.6% compared to August 2021 and up slightly month-over-month.
  • Lunch continues to decline YOY (-5.5%) in comparison to other dayparts, while dinner traffic has stabilized at -3.9% YOY.

Revenue Channels

Drive-thru traffic is down -11.8% YOY. While the channel showed the weakest performance among all revenue channels in August, traffic is stabilizing month-over-month. Our generational insights survey revealed additional positive news; 31% of millennials and 29% of Gen Z-ers intend to increase their drive-thru visits more or much more in the future. It is also worth noting that traffic is still comping against summer 2021 levels when mass vaccination efforts created a surge in restaurant visits.

Dine-in (+29.8%), delivery (+21.3%) and takeout (+17.5%) are all performing better YOY. Millennials are also driving delivery usage in comparison to other generations; 84% reported ordering delivery at least once a week. Gen Z-ers were not far behind at 69%.

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

The Evolution of a Post-pandemic Restaurant Drive-Thru

Consumers are sticking with their pandemic drive-thru habits, causing restaurant brands to experiment with innovative ways to reinvent the drive-thru experience. For more on operators’ new drive-thru strategies and our recent survey data, check out this Nation’s Restaurant News article.

Millennials Are a Restaurant’s Best Friend

RMS insights show that millennials and Gen Z-ers are spending more on restaurants this year. For more on our recent generational consumer report, read through Fast Casual‘s latest article. For strategies to capture this growing consumer segment, contact us.


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

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