The quick-service restaurants were said to have recovered completely from the pandemic-driven hit to foot traffic as nationwide visits returned to year-over-two-year growth in July.
Unfortunately, however, the momentum couldn’t sustain in the subsequent months, with the QSR sector turning “red” again in terms of foot traffic.
In its new report, Placer.ai analysed data from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE: CMG) and Yum Brands Inc (NYSE: YUM) to get a clearer picture of how fast-food chains performed in the third quarter.
Chipotle remained resilient in Q3
According to the foot traffic analytics company, Chipotle showed resilience in the past three months, with visits keeping up 12.2%, 7.5%, and 2.7%, respectively, versus 2019 equivalents.
Interestingly, the report added, Americans were visiting more in the evening (8 PM to 11 PM) and less in the lunchtime. In the third quarter, evening visits made up 15.9% of the total foot traffic – an increase from 14.9% before the pandemic. On the other hand, 37.2% of the total visitors stopped by during lunchtime versus a higher 40.4% in Q3 of 2019.
In the upcoming weeks, as employers continue to recall their staff back to offices, however, lunchtime visits to Chipotle’s nationwide stores could see a surge, predicted Placer.ai.
Yum Brands paints a different picture
Yum Brands, the company that owns notable brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, however, paints a different picture of the QSR sector. Monthly visits to all three of its brands in September were down 24.4%, 29.9%, and 13.5%, respectively, compared to the same period of 2019.
The analytics firm agreed that the pandemic was at play but said the decline in visits might also be related to store closures as both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have permanently shuttered several locations recently. The report added:
Though other factors are clearly at play, including changes to professional routines and the limitations in cities, visit metrics are still down more than visits per venue numbers – showing the impact of these closures on overall traffic.
Both Chipotle and Yum Brands are scheduled to reports quarterly earnings later this month.
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