These Consumer Trends Are Driving Restaurant Growth and Contraction

These Consumer Trends Are Driving Restaurant Growth and Contraction

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron analyzes Foodable Labs data around two generations that are causing major shakeups in the restaurant industry: Millennials and Generation Z. We look at the frequency of restaurant visits, guest counts, and popular social platforms within these groups to give your concept insights into how to win with this major market segment. 

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A Look at the Industry: Social Restaurant Visits Drop, Consumers Give Chipotle a Second Chance

On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly," we’re not only taking a look at the industry after the end of January through Foodable Labs, but we’re also dissecting some long-term trends that we will continue to see throughout 2017.

Social restaurant visits (SRVs), or restaurant visits that include some type of social media interaction, have actually seen a drop in social interactions for the first time in these past few months. Currently, we are still showing an upward trend. We keep a close eye on SRVs, because when consumers have online discussions about dining out, those social media discussions are indicative of restaurant performance.

Looking back at December, Veggie Grill, Mod Market, and honeygrow showed the most SRV growth at the end of 2016. There is often a lot of movement in that top 10 SRV list and January was no exception, showing a shake-up in the top brands. Shake Shack made their move back to No. 1, followed by Dig Inn, and Paris Baguette, a newcomer to the top three.

Starbucks also showed up in the top 10 in January. However, some other major brands that usually rank high were missing from January’s top 10 list, such as Arby’s, Jersey Mike’s, McDonald's, and Sonic Drive-In.

Industry-wide, January marks the first time we’ve seen a downturn in SRVs. Though the winter months do normally show a slow in SRVs in part due to the holidays, we will need to keep an eye on this.

Second Chance for Chipotle?

Chipotle had it rough last year. Focusing on their consumer sentiment, Chipotle showed a drop in December, but just this month, Chipotle’s social sentiment jumped up. This could possibly be consumers giving Chipotle a second chance. Chipotle is also showing a slight positive growth in SRVs, and though small, these growths in SRV may not be an anomaly. We will continue to keep an eye out for continued growth.

Keep watching "On Foodable Weekly" to stay up-to-date with how the industry is faring here on Foodable Network.

Foodable Labs Predicts Strong Sales for Del Taco and honeygrow in 2017

November showed small growth in social restaurant visits since October. On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly," Host Paul Barron dissects the numbers and predicts which brands may have strong sales in 2017. Watch below!

According to Foodable Labs, Facebook and Twitter conversations surrounding the top 500 restaurant brands are up this month, as are social restaurant visits. What are SRVs? Foodable Labs measures SRVs by looking at social media conversations and analyzing users’ intent to visit a restaurant, their return or referral to a restaurant, and direct actions such as Facebook Check-ins or Instagram posts about their trip to a restaurant.

Within the top 500 brands, Shake Shack showed the greatest growth in SRVs last month at 6.65 percent. Right behind Shake Shack, Tender Greens has held steady in the No. 2 spot with 5.64 percent growth over October. Other top 500 brands showing high SRV growth include Digg Inn, Penn Station, Arby’s, Modern Market, and Freshii.

Social restaurant visits for the entire industry are also showing a slight increase from 129.6 million to 130.1 million. This uptick is on trend with the increases we’ve been seeing since August.

Top Performers

Using our data, Foodable Labs has identified some predictors of strong sales and unit growth. Some brands predicted to do well in 2017 include Del Taco, honeygrow, Matchbox, Freshii, Zoes Kitchen, Mod Pizza, and Little Beet.

Our top performer of 2016, however, is a bit unexpected.

Host Paul Barron says, “McDonald’s has really turned the ship around and doing some things that have obviously made an impact with their brand.”

With an 80 point increase in their overall Foodable Labs Score in 2016, we are seeing a lot of similarities with McDonald’s sales chart. Competing with Wendy’s, Burger King, and Sonic Drive-in, McDonald’s holds their lead thanks to high social engagement with their customers.