As Seen in Nation’s Restaurant News: Independent vs. Chain Restaurants, The Battle for Share of Stomach

August 8, 2017 Posted by - SVP, Ad Partnerships, Restaurant

A battle for share of stomach among big chain restaurants has been going on since the dawn of restaurant dining. But, over recent years, the battle has shifted with chain restaurants needing to compete more heavily with independent restaurants vs. other big chains.

We recently wrote an article for Nation’s Restaurant News, “Independent vs. Chain Restaurants: The Battle for Share of Stomach,” discussing how restaurant diners are shifting their dining out spend. We’re seeing that during key spend seasons, diners are opting for local.

  • During the 2016 holiday shopping season, indepen­dent restaurant trips grew 8.3 percent year-over-year, while national chains witnessed a 2.4 percent year-over-year decline.
  • Early 2017 summer restaurant traffic shows year-over-year trip growth of 8.1% for independents and 1.6% for national chains.

Across the country, we’re seeing that hyper-local and regional brands are quickly gaining steam, either matching the amount of spend at chains or surpassing. And, this trend is replicated across restaurant categories. From June 2016 – July 2017, we saw consumers spending heavily at independents restaurants in key categories, including: casual dining, pizza, and seafood.

That’s not to say that chains aren’t still seeing considerable spend/winning in some categories. We see that, in that same time period, when it came to American cuisine, consumers still opted for chains with independent restaurant spend only accounting for about 1% of the pie.

As you can see, independent spend is taking up a very large slice of the pie. And, these consumers are spending a nice chunk of change on each visit, too. The average check for consumers that spend with independent seafood restaurants is $43.52, with the average casual dining and pizza tickets hovering around $25. In the sandwich category, consumers spend an average of $12.37 with chain restaurants, but an average of $16.23 with independent sandwich shops.

Check out the full article in July 24 edition of NRN to see what may be causing this shift to local, available now.

Are you a restaurant interested in capturing more share of stomach? Contact us, here.