The 24/7 news cycle around the coronavirus (COVID-19) didn’t deter consumers from sampling an array of breakfast promotions offered by quick service restaurant chains last week.  The fast-food “breakfast wars” helped to drive a 4 percent increase in total U.S. restaurant customer transactions for the week ending March 8 compared to same period year ago, reports The NPD Group.

Quick-service restaurant chains, which represent the bulk of U.S. restaurant customer transactions, also grew transactions by 4 percent in the week ending March 8, the highest gain in a 4-week period, 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, and casual dining chains. In contrast, customer transactions at full service restaurants declined in the period. Midscale/family dining chain transactions declined by 3 percent and at casual dining restaurant chains by 5 percent. 

“In these uncertain times, we are monitoring trends to detect possible disruption in the market, but thus far, the [quick-service restaurant] sector has been resilient,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “In good and bad times, consumers are always looking for convenience and value and they get that at [quick-service] restaurants.”

Consumer Trends, News