When we last checked in with Texas Roadhouse, the steakhouse chain was performing admirably. The brand is still displaying elevated foot traffic levels at a time when many other restaurants are feeling the dual pinch of COVID aftershocks and inflation. Texas Roadhouse’s success is driven in part by its willingness to use technology to drive in-house dining, and recent foot traffic data confirms the strength of the company’s strategy.
No Missed Steaks for Texas Roadhouse
Like other successful dining chains, Texas Roadhouse used the pandemic to its advantage to grow even stronger than it was before. The company shifted to a more takeout-focused, lockdown-friendly business model over the pandemic, and is now serving 2.5x more to-go customers in 2021 than in 2019. Now, many of these to-go customers are returning to the dining room, boosting the company’s foot traffic.
Over the past six months, Texas Roadhouse has seen significant year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) foot traffic growth, especially when compared to the wider full-service restaurant category. September 2022 Yo3Y visits were up 18.5% relative to September 2019, even as the overall restaurant category saw its visits dip 16.3% during the same period. Visits per venue were also up each month examined, which confirms that the decision to expand from 484 locations in 2019 to 526 by the end of 2021 was the right one.
Serving Up Success Year-over-Year
Visits to the chain are also up year-over-year (YoY), with September 2022 seeing 7.4% growth relative to September 2021. Meanwhile, the overall full-service restaurant segment saw 1.4% fewer visits YoY in the same period, reflecting the broader struggles still ongoing for much of the restaurant industry. And although Texas Roadhouse’s visits per venue took an 11.4% YoY dip in September, the company sees this as a positive sign that diners are returning to their routines.
The company partially attributes its strong performance to its newly adopted technology that facilitates a quicker dining turnaround – allowing more people to get in and out of the restaurant more efficiently. Texas Roadhouse’s success reinforces that in-house dining and takeaway can complement, rather than compete with each other, and restaurants can benefit from embracing technology and innovation.
Texas Roadhouse Beefing up Store Counts
With the 2022 Back-to-School season done and dusted, and the holiday season coming up, Texas Roadhouse is well-positioned to cement its spot as one of the country’s most successful steakhouse chains. Recent weekly visits were elevated both YoY and Yo3Y, with the week of October 3rd, 2022, seeing 22.0% more visits Yo3Y and 4.3% YoY.
The increase in foot traffic confirms that the chain’s expansion plans are coming at a good time. Texas Roadhouse is doubling down on innovation and takeaway options as it expands its store fleets. The company’s new restaurants will be built with dedicated to-go areas as takeaway dining, once a solution to COVID concerns, has become a significant and stable part of the chain’s revenue. This new store format shows that brick-and-mortar dining venues can serve multiple purposes – in this case, becoming a space for both in-person and takeaway diners.
Meating, and Exceeding Expectations
Texas Roadhouse exited the pandemic stronger than ever, proving that in-person dining is still very much in demand and that takeaway and in-house dining can coexist – and boost visits. The company also integrated to-go services into its restaurants, expanding its reach significantly. By identifying what changes needed to be made early on in the pandemic and by streamlining its processes with technological adoption, Texas Roadhouse is poised to continue its success.
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