Amidst a chicken sandwich war, taking advantage of the last remaining days of summer vacation, and the want of having someone else do the cooking, consumers made more purchases at U.S. restaurants in August than they did the year before, reports The NPD Group. Quick service restaurants (QSRs) were the primary beneficiaries of this consumer demand with same-store dollars up by 4.4 percent.
Restaurant transactions were positive for QSR chains throughout the month of August, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 73 quick service, fast casual, midscale chains, and casual dining chains. The full service segment of casual and midscale/family chains continued to be soft compared to August 2018.
The launch of a new chicken sandwich in mid-August and subsequent Twitter feud brought consumers’ attention to the already popular chicken sandwich. Although the chicken sandwich battle was a win for some chicken sandwich warriors, it was a loss in share for some hamburger chains.
“Warmer weather, vacations, and a slower pace have historically made summer a stronger season for the restaurant industry,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “You add the excitement of a chicken sandwich battle and social media feud, and you’ve got an even greater gain in transactions—albeit temporary.”
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