Vol. 12: Traffic and Average Check Trends and Implications

Published On: May 2, 2020

It’s no surprise purchases from restaurants the past 7 weeks have looked much different than pre COVID-19 behavior. Relatively predictable traffic and spend patterns have been replaced with variable activity by time of day, and day of week.
When looking at a sample of our client data, we see signs of optimism in traffic and average check trends among same stores:

  1. Decline in restaurant transactions found its floor in early April.
  2. A slow improvement started the week ending April 12, and for the week ending April 19, year-over-year traffic change was approx. +10% points better than at the floor.
    • Both Lunch and Dinner have improved approx. +15% points from the floor. Breakfast has improved to a lesser degree, and Late Night has not seen improvement.
  3. The Easter holiday mismatch seems to have had no material impact on total traffic.

Capture more than your fair share of this increased traffic by amplifying your marketing and promotion messages. Discounting a marquee item that has historically been price-sensitive is a proven method for increasing traffic.
Average Check

  1. Both gross and net Average Check have fluctuated significantly day-to-day, and across all dayparts.
  2. Weekends are softer than weekdays, particularly at Breakfast which is lower than a year ago.
    • Weekday Dinner is up 10-20% vs. year ago, and Lunch up 5-10%. Late Night average spend is down.

Maintain positive momentum in Average Check growth – even as dining rooms slowly reopen – by continuing to offer compelling bundle promotions, family meals, and “heat and serve” takeout options to all guests.
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