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QSR Quarterly Index
2022: Q2

Offline Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) foot traffic in Q2 2022 was essentially on par with pre-pandemic levels, and foot traffic increased significantly on both a year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis. So while the current economic challenges, and perhaps a lingering COVID effect, may be somewhat inhibiting Yo3Y growth, the general trend seems to be positive – and is even more impressive in the context of the wider contraction in discretionary spending. 

Analyzing dozens of brands including:

Inflation Driving QSR Visits Up

Yo3Y weekly visits remained close to or above 2019 levels for most of the quarter, and rising prices did not seem to discourage consumers from visiting QSR chains. Inflation may even have given the category a boost by driving consumers away from full-service restaurants and towards lower-priced fast-food options. The drop in YoY visits towards the end of the quarter is a reflection of the wider dining reopening in June 2021 rather than any decrease in QSR strength.

“Inflation may even have given QSR a boost by driving consumers away from full-service restaurants and towards lower-priced fast food options.”

-1.1%

-1.1%

Yo3Y QSR visits the week of June 27 were 1.1 lower than they were in 2019.

Visits per Venue Showing Room for Expansion

Over the past year, the YoY increase in visits per venue has outpaced the YoY increase in overall visits. Since many QSR brands permanently closed locations over the pandemic, there are now fewer QSR venues to visit nationwide – and with fewer branches, the average number of quarterly visitors per remaining restaurant has increased. This may indicate at least some of the chains still have room to expand. 

“Over the past year, the YoY increase in visits per venue has outpaced the YoY increase in overall visits.”

+15.5%

+15.5%

Visits per venue increased 15.5% YoY in Q2 2022.

Trade Areas Increasing

The pandemic had a significant impact on QSR offline visits. For most chains, overall visits decreased and trade area (the distance 70% of a brand’s consumers travel to reach the brand’s venues) contracted in 2020 and early 2021 as consumers stayed close to home and ate out less. But over the past year, trade area for leading QSR brands has been steadily increasing, indicating that consumers are once again grabbing fast food on the go as they spend more time out and about. 

“Over the past year, trade area for leading QSR brands has been steadily increasing.”

132.6 sq. mi.

132.6 sq. mi.

132.6 sq. mi.

Chick-fil-A’s trade area increased to 132.6 sq.mi. In Q2 2022.

QSR Growth Leaders

Several national QSR brands have seen particularly impressive growth over the past quarter. McDonald’s, which closed several locations in 2021, still managed to see its overall visits grow every month this quarter on a YoY basis. On the other hand, Jack in the Box, and Domino’s Pizza have all been expanding, which is also pushing their foot traffic numbers up. And Popeyes is still riding the wave of the long-term visit boost from its chicken sandwich launch in the summer/fall of 2019. The diverse paths to success of these five brands demonstrates the category’s current growth potential. 

“The diverse paths to success of the QSR growth leaders demonstrates the category’s current growth potential.”

+31.9%
Domino's Pizza foot traffic increased 31.9% Yo3Y in June 2022.

Summary

QSR is one of the categories that may be benefiting from the current economic climate. As the COVID impact continues to wane and consumers trade down from full-service restaurants to fast-food, several QSR brands are seeing their visits increase – not only compared to 2021, but compared to pre-pandemic as well. Q2 2022 data indicates that the category is well positioned to continue thriving in H2 2022. 

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