— QSR breakfast visits increased by 5% in August, 1% above the pre-pandemic traffic level
Chicago, October 3, 2022 — Breakfast was the most important meal of the day for the U.S. restaurant industry in August based on its visit growth, reports The NPD Group. Breakfast restaurant traffic grew by 4% in August compared to the same month a year ago and is now within 1% of recovering pre-pandemic traffic levels. Quick service restaurant (QSR) breakfast, representing 87% of restaurant breakfast traffic, increased visits by 5% in the month compared to a year ago. The August traffic growth for QSR breakfast was 1% above what it was in August 2019. Total QSR traffic was flat in August, lunch visits were down 2%, and dinner traffic was up 1% in the month compared to August 2021.
QSR gourmet coffee and tea and QSR hamburger restaurants, representing a large share of QSR breakfast traffic, drove much of the daypart’s growth. Breakfast visits to gourmet coffee and tea outlets increased by 20% in August compared to a year ago and were 15% above the August 2019 traffic level. QSR hamburger breakfast visits grew by 4% in the month compared to a year ago, with traffic down 2% compared to three years ago, reports NPD, which recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI®) to create a leading global technology, analytics and data provider.
Breakfast sandwiches were the top food choice at QSR breakfast; 37% of all QSR breakfast orders included these sandwiches in August. Breakfast sandwich servings were up 4% in the month from a year ago, a 14% increase compared to August 2019. Coffee was the top beverage ordered at QSR breakfast; 52% of all August QSR breakfast orders included coffee. Coffee servings were up 11% in the month compared to a year ago and up 2% from the pre-pandemic level in August 2019.
“Breakfast at restaurants was adversely affected in the early stages of the pandemic, and it’s recovering now that more consumers have returned to more out-of-the-home routines,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Breakfast is an important daypart for the U.S. restaurant industry, and it’s encouraging that consumers have found new reasons and ways to get breakfast away from home.”