Top-performing brands in 2018 were able to grow their mid-afternoon daypart traffic by 9.9 percent. So far in the first quarter of 2019, the industry is averaging a 2.1 percent increase in comp sales during this nontraditional daypart (not shown in graph).
The restaurant industry is evolving to adapt to the shifting needs of the consumer. Even with sales increases, traffic continues to decline. For operators looking to increase sales to make up for the decline in traffic, many operators are turning to 3PD (third-party delivery) and off-premise consumption (read Ride the Industry Wave and Ramp Up Your Off-Premise Sales). Recent research from Gallup indicated that consumers, on average, dine-in or drive-through restaurants twice as often as picking up to-go or using 3PD. While capturing off-premise and delivery sales is essential for many brands seeking to expand their reach outside the walls of their restaurants, there is also an opportunity to get customers in seats by focusing on off-peak dayparts.
Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) research revealed that some of the top-performing brands stood out from their competition in several ways, including the ability to grow traffic between lunch and dinner when guests are more inclined to “snack.” Quick-service brands are no strangers to this daypart, but thanks to the growing need for more convenient options, full-service brands have more opportunities to benefit as well. Check out the infographic below for tips on how to expand your mid-afternoon daypart traffic.