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Insight of the Day: The lunch rush is dead as Americans live for the weekend

Key Points:

  • Shift in Spending: Americans are spending less on weekday lunches and more on weekends and weekday happy hours compared to pre-pandemic levels.

  • Hybrid Work Impact: The rise of hybrid work is a significant factor in the decline of weekday lunch traffic.

  • Weekend Spending Uptick: Brunch is a major contributor to the increase in weekend spending.

  • Fast-Casual Resilience: Fast-casual brands are performing better than many other restaurants.

  • Affluent Consumers Drive Growth: Spending is primarily driven by higher-income consumers.

  • New York Anomalies: New York City, particularly Brooklyn, deviates from the national trend.

  • Individual Differences: Not everyone is following the trend of increased weekend spending. Some individuals still spend more on weekday lunches.

Additional Insights:

  • Brunch Appeal: Brunch offers an accessible price point compared to dinner, making it a popular choice for weekend dining.

  • Office Perks: Some employees, like Nicholas Louie, have access to free alcohol at work, which reduces their spending at bars and restaurants.

  • Fast Food Struggles: Fast-food chains are facing challenges as budget-conscious consumers are cutting back on spending.

  • Restaurant Adaptations: Restaurants are introducing promotions and focusing on attracting evening and weekend crowds to offset the decline in weekday lunch traffic.

Overall, the data suggests a significant shift in American dining habits post-pandemic. While weekday lunches are less popular, people are still eager to dine out and socialize, particularly on weekends and during happy hours.


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