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Quick-Service Restaurants Saw Stabilizing Gains

A 1 percent increase in quick-service restaurant visits in May, representing 82 percent of all industry traffic, offset full-service restaurant traffic declines, reports Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group. The data insights company asserts that it helped stabilize the entire restaurant industry for the month compared to a year ago.

Both traditional QSRs, like specialty, sandwich, and snack quick-service restaurants, and fast casual restaurants contributed to May’s traffic growth. While visits to traditional QSRs grew by 1 percent, fast-casual restaurant traffic grew by 4 percent compared to a year ago.

Broken out by the time of day, visits to QSRs during the breakfast and a.m. snack periods were up 5 percent in May compared to last year. Snacks during p.m. periods were also up 5 percent. Lunch and dinner, however, experienced single-digit traffic declines in the month versus a year ago.

“The QSR segment extended an impressive winning streak in May with the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year traffic gains. Morning meal[s] continue to drive QSR growth,” says David Portalatin, Circana food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America, in a statement. “Full-service restaurants continue to face headwinds, but despite the headwinds, several FSR chains are winning by improving on-premises demand and delighting customers with good value and great experiences.”

Still recovering from steep pandemic-related losses, full-service restaurant visits declined by 3 percent in May compared to a year ago. Major FSR chains fared better than independents, with traffic down 1 percent, versus independent FSRs’ 3 percent decline.

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