Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

2019 Q2 Retail Index - Food

Ethan Chernofsky
August 14, 2019
2019 Q2 Retail Index - Food

Both Starbucks and McDonald’s enjoyed impressive performances in Q2, with the latter’s stock hitting an all-time high after earnings. 

What sets both brands apart is a penchant for innovation. McDonalds made headlines for acquiring a technology company earlier this year and Starbucks has consistently shown a keen understanding of how to engage audiences with creative products and promotions. Speaking about the coffee leader, BTIG analyst Peter Saleh said that, “after several years of anemic traffic in the Americas, guest counts accelerated on the strength of cold beverage innovation and digital engagement.”

But was this rise a trend felt only by the giants or were there benefits to go around? We analyzed the Q2 performance of ten of the top fast food and fast-casual brands to find out. 

Cross-Sector Growth

With the warming weather came a significant increase in visits compared to Q1 for some of the top restaurant chains. Both McDonalds and Dunkin saw visit increases above 9%, while Wendy’s quarterly growth was over 12% and Sonic saw a massive 34.3% increase. Importantly, these numbers also reflect seasonality and the expansion of stores. So while Starbucks saw a ‘modest’ 1.3% traffic increase, it is an impressive feat considering the brand's primary strength is the fall and winter. Sonic's growth was a reflection of normal trends for the period, but was still a critical sign of strength for the brand.

The Value of Time Spent

Yet, the small rise for Starbucks and the dip for Panera belie one of the strongest assets these to chains possess - the ability to drive extended visit durations. While there are many visitors who pop into a local Starbucks for a coffee order before dashing off, those who do visit tend to take their time. This is indicated by a plus-50 minute average duration for those who have made a longer visit. Only Panera can boast the same among the analyzed group. This advantage is an asset worth monitoring as it speaks a to unique ability to boost sales, and could position Panera well for growth - especially with a new push into dinner.

McDonald’s Magic

Apart from experiencing tremendous growth in visits in Q2 compared to Q1, there are few elements not to love about McDonald’s relative performance. Isolating the brands that focus on savory offerings McDonalds sees an average visit that is significantly higher than the norm. The average visitor to the brand came to the location an average of 3.7 times during the quarter - not counting drive-through visits! This is a tremendous facor that speaks to the brand's strength, ongoing appeal and the diversity of offerings that can drive strong traffic across different audiences.


Beyond Meat isn’t the only player in food enjoying the impact of 2019, with several of the top players in restaurants enjoying an impactful Q2. Yet, there are elements that separate some of the top performers. McDonald’s didn’t just enjoy a rise in visits, but a visit rate that was matched only by Starbucks. Starbucks saw limited growth on Q1, but considering they are a brand that focuses on hot drinks, Springtime growth only demonstrates the innovation in their product line. Finally, Panera remains one of the most interesting players in food. The company has strong underlying characteristics, but a new dinner menu makes them one of the most interesting chains to watch.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift