Footfall Traffic in Foodservice Slows down to -1.7% in Q3

Meaningful Vision’s Competitive Intelligence System delves into puzzling insights regarding consumer footfall traffic across the top 100 chains, encompassing fast food outlets, coffee shops, casual dining, and pubs. Notably, there has been a discernible shift, as consumer footfall traffic moved from a positive 2.3% in Q1 to a negative -1.7% in Q3. Despite an overall market growth of 0.2% in Jan-Sep 2023 compared to the previous year, like-for-like traffic witnessed a decline of 1%.

According to our estimates at Meaningful Vision, the average check has seen a modest increase of 6-8%. This stands in contrast to the substantial 17% surge in price growth for individual menu items throughout 2023. In response to economic pressures, consumers are actively seeking savings, gravitating towards Combo Meal Deals and available discounts. This shift is reflected in their behavior, with orders being downsized, omitting less essential items such as drinks, snacks, or sides,” comments Maria Vanifatova, CEO of Meaningful Vision. “In a high-inflation environment, it’s crucial to recognize that consumer footfall traffic is the most accurate metric to analyse a brand’s performance. I discuss the recent data on footfall traffic in my webinar, broadcasted on PropellHospitality and available on our website.

Where are the remaining growth opportunities?


Footfall Traffic in Fast Food

Fast food chains, known for their affordability, have demonstrated resilience with a positive performance of +1.1% in Jan-Sep 2023, while traffic to Restaurants & Pubs experienced a nearly 5% decline.

Bakeries, Sandwich Shops, and Coffee Shops

Despite facing challenges, growth opportunities persist in key segments. Bakeries and sandwich shops lead the pack with a 7% growth rate, closely followed by coffee shops, which experienced a 1% increase in the first nine months of 2023. Notable growth areas for bakeries and sandwich shops include Yorkshire, the South-East, and London, with the latter boasting an impressive 15% growth in total traffic.

Morning and Daytime Footfall Traffic

Quick-service restaurant (QSR) categories exhibit the highest footfall traffic growth during morning and daytime hours, with bakery, sandwich, and coffee shops benefiting the most from this trend. For instance, 32% of coffee shop visits occur in the morning. Daily visits across the food service sector are on the rise by 4%, while evening traffic is declining for almost all segments.

Big Cities and City Centres

Changing office attendance patterns contribute to footfall traffic growth in QSR places located in big cities, especially in their centres, where the highest business activity occurs. Fast food traffic growth in the top 25 cities during the first 9 months stood at around 5%, a figure five times higher than the market average. In city centres, the growth was even more pronounced.

The disparity between various city and urban retail environments, influenced by factors like competitor penetration and pricing policies, necessitates a nuanced approach. A detailed examination and thorough understanding of local market dynamics become integral components of any growth strategy.

Maria Vanifatova, CEO of Meaningful Vision, emphasizes the significance of generating customer traffic for authentic growth: “Analyzing traffic data allows a clear understanding of food service chain dynamics, free from inflationary influence. Meaningful Vision’s Competitive Intelligence system facilitates benchmarking performance against competitors in each location and identifies the most promising growth opportunities.”

More information on the Fast Food restaurant diversity on QSR Media UK

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