According to a Recent Study/Survey

This edition of Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s “According to …” research roundup features the Good Food 100 Restaurants, fast food foot traffic in NYC, the top signs of a foodie, Mexican food trends, how the combination of 5G, AI and IoT is set to change the Americas and the appeal of natural cork.

Best Sales Growth in Nearly Three Years

The restaurant industry continued its recovery in August. Same-store sales were up 1.8 percent, making it the best month since September of 2015. However, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast in August last year, greatly impacting sales in the last week of that month, giving restaurants a built-in advantage. That soft comparison resulted in same-store sales growth of 2.9 percent for the last week of August 2018. These insights come from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence™ data, based on weekly sales from over 30,000 locations representing 170+ brands and nearly $70 billion in annual sales. “Regardless of the hurricane impact, it is important to highlight that sales were strong in August,” said Victor Fernandez, vice president of insights and knowledge for TDn2K™. “At the end of July there was concern that restaurant sales might be slowing and the much-awaited recovery might be coming to an end. Nonetheless, sales in the first three weeks of August, which were pre-hurricane, were up 1.5 percent. Had this been the final result for the month, it would still have been the best performance since September of 2015 and it represented a 0.9 percentage point improvement over July’s same-store sales.”

What QSRs New Yorkers Prefer

A study conducted by Blis, a global location data solutions provider, tracked unique foot traffic patterns at Burger King, Chipotle, KFC, McDonalds, and Taco Bell locations across New York City’s five boroughs over a two-week period.

Here’s what they found:

Chipotle is NYC’s most popular fast food chain. The people of NYC love this chain regardless of their food poisoning scandals, with an average of 405K unique visitors across all locations and boroughs. Mondays afternoons in Manhattan are the busiest time periods for Chipotle, with almost double the foot traffic of NYC’s second favorite fast food chain, McDonalds.

Media planners: be careful of Staten Island. With the smallest population, the often forgotten borough has the lowest foot traffic of all, which media planners should take into consideration when apportioning budgets per regions and restaurants. Manhattan, which consistently has the highest foot traffic, would be a better bet for your campaign.

No one seems to have tacos for breakfast! Across all locations and boroughs, Taco Bell was the least visited store with 20K unique visitors. During the morning hours, the foot traffic is half of what it typically is during the afternoon hours of 12-5 p.m. Brooklyn showed the most love to the chain, with Manhattan a close second. It seems like Taco Bell will be sharing the love back with their plans to open an additional 125 stores in the area before the end of the year.

Overall foot traffic per location:

  • Chipotle- 405k uniques
  • McDonalds-274k uniques
  • Burger King- 245k uniques
  • KFC- 96k uniques
  • Taco Bell-20k uniques

Lunch vs Dinner

  • Manhattan sells more for lunch than it does for dinner, which is the opposite of BK and Queens.
  • BK and Queens sells the same for lunch and dinner
  • If getting a QSR (quick serve restaurant) dinner in Manhattan, people are doing it earlier than other boroughs; if going to a McDonalds or Burger King they are doing it straight after work, then it dips, then spikes again 9-10pm.
  • If you go straight home, you get to your QSR and dinner a bit later by 6-7pm (which is where the outer boroughs spike in foot traffic)


  • Staten Island lowest foot traffic for all boroughs (smallest population)
  • Manhattan has highest
  • Media planners beware, when apportioning budget per region/rest, a QSRs in study in Staten Island is going to have less visitors vs Manhattan

Day of Week

  • Tuesdays have the lowest foot traffic of the week for all QSRs

Burger King

  • Manhattan- bigger spike than other boroughs during lunch, which could imply there is a higher number of people working in Manhattan; office hour break times have a bigger impact of foot traffic than somewhere like Brooklyn.
  • Amount of foot traffic increased between 7-8am, then a bigger spike 8-9am in Manhattan, suggesting people don’t want to eat breakfast on train; rather, get to work first and then get themselves breakfast (so at a Burger King closest to their office vs their home).
  • Most highly visited Burger King is Manhattan on a Monday and majority is at lunchtime
  • Foot traffic drops in the time of two hours from 5-6pm vs 8pm; foot traffic in Manhattan pretty much halves (steep drop off)
  • Manhattan, BK, Brox, Queens, Staten Island in order of most to least foot traffic


  • Sells more at lunch in Manhattan vs dinner
  • Manhattan, BK, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island in order of most to least foot traffic
  • Dinner is a U shape, same as Burger King
  • Monday in Manhattan highest foot traffic
  • Queens has more traffic on the weekend compared to other locations that doesn’t really have a spike on the weekend


  • Manhattan, Queens, BK, Bronx, Staten Island in order of most to least foot traffic
  • Sells more for lunch vs dinner in just Manhattan


  • Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island in order of most to least foot traffic
  • Busier for lunch vs. dinner in Manhattan
  • Breakfast time people are getting to Manhattan first then getting breakfast between 8-9am rather than on way to train station
  • Manhattan can expect to serve same number of customers for breakfast as it does for dinner where suburban locations serve more for dinner vs breakfast (don’t want to get it on way to work then after get out of office and onto train home)

Taco Bell

  • Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens Bronx, Staten Island in order of most to least foot traffic
  • Most traffic’d day is Manhattan on a Wednesday
  • Manhattan busier for lunch vs other locations
  • No one seems to have tacos for breakfast!

Click here to read the full article.

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