- RR’s Menu & Promotions report provides data for 56 chains (33 QSR and 23 FSR) including: (1) a 6-year history of total menu items (2016 – 2021); (2) promotional mix by quarter; (3) new product intros; (4) average check; (5) daypart sales mix; (6) digital & off-premise sales mix; (7) menu category mix; and (8) monthly new product calendar.
- Average menu size contracted -5.2% for QSR through 1H:21 given a post-lockdown focus on minimizing operational complexity and maximizing drive-thru speeds. Conversely, FSR menu size rebounded +6.8% (although still -21% below the 2014 peak) after declining -17.6% last year as the chains pivoted to an off-premise model.
- New product intros (which had been stable for QSR over the last several years but declining for FSR) also remain near the 2020 low as chains focus on core menus as opposed to innovation (once again to maximize speed & output).
- The 2020 average check was up sharply (+10.1% QSR & +5.8% FSR) due to a higher mix of family bundles and large digital orders. While average checks should decline from recent highs due to fewer bundles, they should remain above historical levels due to an acceleration in digital sales growth, fewer value promotions and more aggressive menu price increases (needed to partially offset sharp commodity & labor cost inflation).
- Notably, Food Away From Home CPI continues to accelerate (QSR + 6.3% & FSR +3.5% 1H:21) relative to the Food at Home CPI (+2.2%), increasing the price gap between restaurants and grocery stores.