Kansas City and Charleston metro areas exceed pre-pandemic level lunch transactions, but large commuter areas are still recovering.
Toast (NYSE: TOST), the all-in-one digital platform built for restaurants, announced its Q1 2023 Restaurant Trends Report, providing insight into the overall state of the U.S. restaurant industry through an analysis of aggregated sales data from selected cohorts of restaurants in select U.S. metropolitan areas on the Toast platform, which serves approximately 85,000 restaurant locations as of March 31, 2023.
For the full report, please visit the Toast Newsroom.
Key trends include:
- Kansas City metro area lunch transactions are up 3% since 2019: The Kansas City and Charleston metro areas were the only Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that Toast analyzed that increased weekday lunchtime transactions in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2019. In contrast, larger commuter metro areas like New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco still haven’t fully returned to their pre-pandemic level of weekday lunchtime transactions.1
- Weekday lunch drinking habits: Toast's analysis of weekday transactions showed that Wisconsin had the highest percentage of alcohol purchases during lunchtime compared to any other state. On average, alcoholic beverages in Q1 2023 made up approximately 30% of items on the average Wisconsin lunch bill, which is almost twice the national average of 16%. Surprisingly, New York was tied at the bottom of the list for states where alcohol is ordered alongside lunchtime meals only 8% of the time.2
Dine-in reigns supreme for workday lunches: Three years since the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., dine-in still dominates workday lunches and accounts for 70% of lunchtime transactions in Q1 2023 compared to 79% in Q1 2019. Takeout transactions rose from 20% to 27% for the same period.3
- Lunchtime delivery accounts for 3% of lunchtime transactions in Q1 2023 compared to just 1% in Q1 2019.
Lunch spending is up: The amount guests spend on lunch – whether dine-in or takeout – increased 46% on average since 2019. The average spend on takeout food during lunchtime in Q1 2023 was $22 per order, a 42% increase from the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the average amount spent on dine-in food was $24 per order in Q1 2023, showing a 49% increase from Q1 2019.4
- Note: This analysis only covers the amount people spend on food during weekday lunch and does not factor in the number of menu items guests ordered, party size, or the duration of their stay, drinks, tax, or tip.
Methodology: The Restaurant Trends Report, powered by Toast, uncovers key trends across the restaurant industry through aggregated sales data from a selection of cohorts of restaurants on the Toast platform, which has approximately 85,000 locations as of March 31, 2023. All growth rates are calculated on a same-store sales basis for the applicable period of time. The Restaurant Trends Report is not indicative of the operational performance of Toast or its reported financial metrics, including GMV growth and same-store GMV growth. Please see the full report for additional details about how these numbers were calculated.
1 Methodology: Toast analyzed the number of weekday transactions in 19 select metropolitan areas between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time from a cohort of restaurants on the Toast platform from Jan. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023, to determine the average number of transactions per restaurant location on the Toast platform in Q1 2019 and 2023. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers on the platform since 2019 to demonstrate COVID-19 pandemic recovery trends. Transactions were not adjusted for total transaction volume.
2 Methodology: Toast analyzed weekday transactions during lunch service at restaurants on the Toast platform in Q1 2023. Restaurants below a threshold of five transactions a day were excluded. Taxes and tips are not included.
3 Methodology: Toast analyzed weekday transactions in 19 select metropolitan areas between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time from a cohort of restaurants on the Toast platform, from Jan. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers on the platform since 2019 to demonstrate COVID-19 pandemic recovery trends.
4 Methodology: Toast analyzed weekday transactions between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time from a cohort of restaurants on the Toast platform from Jan. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023, to determine the average food price per restaurant location (i.e. the Gross Merchandise Volume) in Q1 2019 and Q1 2023. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers on the platform since 2019 to show COVID-19 pandemic recovery trends. Restaurants below a threshold of five transactions a day on the Toast platform were excluded. Analysis only looks at the prices guests paid for food and does not include beverages, tax, or tip.