—Morning meal traffic remains stable while other dayparts decline
Chicago, July 27, 2022 — Feeling the impact of inflation and rising menu prices, U.S. consumers cut back on their restaurant visits in the second calendar quarter of 2022, reports The NPD Group. Physical and online restaurant traffic declined by 2% in the quarter versus a year ago, -6% below the pre-pandemic level in the same quarter in 2019. Consumer restaurant spending, which reflects higher costs in contrast to increased visits, was up 2% in the quarter compared to the same quarter year ago and increased by 3% versus the pre-pandemic second quarter in 2019.
Visits to quick service restaurants (QSRs), representing 82% of total restaurant traffic, declined by 2% in the second quarter compared to last year’s quarter, 3% below the pre-pandemic level for the same period in 2019. QSR fast casual restaurant traffic was down 1% in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago and was up 8% versus the same quarter in 2019. Full service restaurant (FSR) visits, representing 18% of restaurant visits, were down 3% in the quarter versus a year ago and declined by 20% compared to the second quarter of 2019, according to NPD’s daily tracking of the U.S. foodservice industry.
At the dinner daypart, which holds the largest traffic share among dayparts at 34%, traffic declined by 2% in the quarter versus a year ago. Lunch visits, representing 30% share, decreased by -3% from a year ago. The morning meal daypart, which includes breakfast and A.M. snack and represents 20% of daypart traffic share, fared best out of all dayparts, ending the quarter flat to a year ago. Visits at P.M. snack, representing 16% of daypart share, declined by 6% in the second quarter compared to a year ago.
“Consumers continue to deal with rising inflation and higher prices. We see three ways consumers respond to higher menu prices. They trade down to lower-priced items, cut back on the number of items ordered, or reduce restaurant visits altogether,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Operators and manufacturers can win in this environment by differentiating value, understanding that value doesn’t always translate to the lowest price. Quality and value become a critical differentiator when consumers spend on a restaurant meal during these challenging times.”