Consumers cut back on restaurant visits in the second quarter with physical and online restaurant traffic declining by 2% compared to the same quarter in 2021. Traffic is 6% below pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2019.
The top factors are high inflation and increasing menu prices, according to The NPD Group.
Consumer restaurant spend was up 2% in the quarter, compared to a year ago, and increased 3% compared to the pre-pandemic quarter in 2019, according to a press release.
“Restaurant operators can win in this environment by differentiating value. Quality and value become a critical differentiator when consumers spend on a restaurant meal in these challenging times, ” David Portalatin, food industry advisor, The NPD Group, said in the release.
Visits to 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 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.
Regarding 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 morning snack and represents 20% of daypart traffic share, fared best out of all dayparts, ending the quarter flat compared 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,” Portalatin said in the release.