Lunch on Decline for Traditional Restaurants

C-Store Channel Holds Steady

New research from the NPD Group has revealed a drastic decrease in the number of consumers lunching at traditional dining establishments.

Traditional restaurant traffic has declined 4% over the course of a year. There are several estimated factors contributing to this. More consumers are working from home, and are ordering food online, eliminating the need to go out for lunch. Consumers are also increasingly crunched for time: gone are the days of hour lunch breaks with co-workers. Everything is fast-paced, and traditional restaurants are not structured for that. Rising food prices have also forced consumers to look for savings in more areas of their lives, including dining.

It’s no surprise, then, that QSRs and c-stores are the only food service categories that are holding steady. Technology has allowed for an increase of quality and speed of the food offered at these establishments. It’s a simple, more convenient alternative to the traditional sit down lunch. Industry experts are expecting “c-stores to become more of a lunch destination over the next few years.”

However, QSR and convenience operators need to be aware of their pricing. In order to keep competing, the prices need to be in-line with what the consumer dictates. According to the NPD foodservice research, consumers are paying on average $8 per-lunch at QSRs, which is higher than they would like. Offering two-for-one or value-meal combos are a way of drawing customers in to your location because consumers view these deals as helping them getting more for their dollar.

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