Restaurant Trends February 2023

US Quick-Service Sales & Traffic Performance

Monthly Traffic Trends for Quick-Service Restaurant, January 2023

QSR US traffic is slightly down compared to last year, despite weaker traffic in January 2022 due to the spread of the Omicron variant. We anticipate YOY traffic to remain flat for the next few months.  

Average price is up 13.7% YOY, a decrease compared to last month’s +16.5%. Average price increase is stabilizing slightly, but the sizable month-over-month decline is due to comps. Bullish pricing started about a year ago, in January 2022.

Monthly Average Price for Quick-Service Restaurant, January 2023

Breakdown of Monthly QSR Trends

The following is a snapshot of US Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) trends for January 2023.

When compared to January 2022:

  • Net sales remain positive at 7.8% YOY.
  • Traffic is down -0.4%. Sales continue to be fueled by average check increases (+8.3% YOY).
  • Quantity per transaction declined (-4.7% YOY), indicating that customers are reducing the number of items they purchase to manage check. Looking to increase or maintain check size? RMS suggests reviewing your loyalty programs and your overall menu design.
  • QSR average price increased by 13.7% YOY.

Daypart Trends

Monthly Daypart Traffic Trends for Quick-Service Restaurant, January 2023
  • Dinner continues to outperform other dayparts. Traffic is up + 2.5% YOY.
  • Breakfast performance is down -1.2% compared to last year, and lunch traffic numbers are down -2.4% YOY.

Revenue Channels

Monthly Revenue Channel Traffic Trends for Quick-Service Restaurant, January 2023
  • Dine-in performance (+48.7% YOY) was the top-performing QSR channel in January 2023. While dine-in is performing well overall, the sizable increase is due to timing. In January 2022, customers were staying home due to increasing COVID-19 cases. RMS predicts dine-in traffic will start to stabilize in the coming months.
  • Takeout (+30.3% YOY) continues to perform positively compared to last year.
  • Customers continue to value the convenience of delivery, despite potential costs. The channel is up 11.4% YOY.
  • Drive-thru year-over-year traffic is down -9.8%.

The current inflationary environment requires highly-focused data-driven solutions. Access RMS’ insights on restaurant usage across generations and revenue channels or reach out today with questions. We’re here to help.

Consultant’s Corner

QSR Ordering: Millennials, Gen Zers Prefer Kiosks Over In-Person

While many customers still prefer to order from a restaurant employee, millennials and Gen Zers increasingly favor kiosks at QSRs. According to RMS’ consumer insights on kiosk usage, 58% of millennials and 67% of Gen Zers prefer self-ordering kiosks over restaurant staff members.

Food Costs Are Down, but So Are Sales

Sales performance in December was up compared to 2021, but what does this mean going forward? Restaurant Business Online examines food costs and restaurant sales to get a pulse on the industry, featuring RMS’ December QSR performance trends.

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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