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April 2024 Food Trends: 12% Decrease In Pizza Sales

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Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

Restaurants— this is your sign to update your menu to include some seasonal summer options. How do we know? From March 1, 2024 to April 30, 2024 Toast analyzed month-over-month food sales to determine what food items are currently trending in the restaurant industry. We found some interesting insights when looking at April compared to March. 

This article breaks down April 2024 food trends for restaurants to use to assist in daily operations such as menu planning and inventory.

At a glance in April 2024:

  • Hot dog sales increased by 2%

  • Bowls increased in sales by 1%

  • Salad sales stayed exactly the same as March 2024.

  • Both burrito and tacos sales decreased by 1%

  • Wing sales decreased by 4%

  • Pasta sales decreased by 7%

  • Dumpling sales decreased by 9%

  • Pizza sales decreased by 12%

  • Pie sales decreased by 12%

Let’s break these insights down.

April Month-Over-Month Food Trends

Time moves fast, and you might be asking yourself, what happened in April? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here’s a general recap of dates and events that happened in April (in case you forgot).

Let’s take a look at how these dates impacted dining trends in April 2024.  

Trend 1: Spring sports are in full swing

The NHL, MLB,  and the 2024 Masters Tournament continued to add to the increase in hot dog sales as they were up 27% in March and an additional 2% in April for an overall 29% increase since February.  Major League Baseball season always brings a surge in hot dog sales across the country. With baseball stadiums packed again, concession stands seemed to be moving franks at a rapid pace in April.

The 88th Masters Tournament, one of golf's majors, took place April 11-14th this year. Although fans tend to enjoy pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches along with Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches at Augusta National, many watched from their favorite sports bars. According to Nielsen Fast National data, ESPN attracted a two-day average of 3.4 million viewers for its 3 p.m. ET coverage of the tournament on Thursday and Friday. That’s the largest two-day average viewership for those telecasts since 2018.

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As the NHL playoffs heated up in April, hockey fans across the U.S. and Canada enjoyed popular arena foods like nachos, soft pretzels, and hot dogs, of course! Although they’re not in the playoffs this year, the Arizona Coyotes are known specifically for their Vienna Beef Chicago Dogs. The intersection of spring sports being in full swing created the perfect scene for concession-type foods to thrive in April 2024. 

Trend 2: The weather is getting warmer

As the weather gets warmer the demand for hot foods gets colder. Pie sales are down 12%, pizza is down 12%, dumplings are down 9%, pasta is down 7%, and wings are down 4%. As temperatures outside continue to heat up, restaurant operators should consider offering chillier menu items such as oysters, salads, and sushi.

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Summer can be the busiest time of year for many restaurants, and a seasonal menu is a good way to capitalize on in-season ingredients, offer something new to loyal customers, and excite new customers with seasonal dishes and farm-to-table menu items. To learn more about how to create a seasonal menu for summer, check out this article

Trend 3: Coachella served up glizzies and poke

Coachella, the popular music festival, took place this year on the weekends of April 12 and April 19. With huge headliners like Lana Del Rey; Tyler, the Creator; and Doja Cat; crowds flocked to The Empire Polo Club, the longtime venue for the festival. However, there’s a lot more to the festival than the music, as there are many food and drink vendors throughout the festival grounds. Although sports fans have also been enjoying hot dogs, the Coachella offered Sumo Dogs this year, and fans loved them. As we mentioned earlier, hot dog sales were up 2% in April, and look how tasty these dogs look! 

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Sweetfin was also a vendor at Coachella this year. It makes chef-driven, California-inspired poke bowls, and bowl sales increased by 1% this April.

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Trend 4: Restaurants were fans of the solar eclipse

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse crossed North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Food and beverage chains nationwide got in on the frenzy with all sorts of aptly named discounts and specials. Jeni’s Ice Creams, one of our favorite ice cream brands, even created new flavors in honor of the eclipse, the Punk Stargonaut series. They featured a Super Moon, Purple Star Born, Cosmic Bloom, Nebular Berry, and some Space Dust. Yum!

Image source Another special was The Windjammer’s Eclipse Drink Special, which included tequila, pineapple juice, sour mix, a float of black, and raspberry schnapps. Remember, pie is out and cold drinks and ice cream are in for the season!

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What else is happening?

So that was April 2024 in a nutshell, but what else is happening in the industry? Check out these related resources below to stay up to date with the industry:

And we’ll see you next month for May month-over-month data!

Methodology

1Toast analyzed transactions on the Toast platform from Mar. 1, 2024, to Apr. 30, 2024, to determine the popularity of dishes labeled “salads, bowls, nachos, tacos, burgers, chicken tenders, roast chicken, fries, quesadillas, sandwiches, sushi, BBQ, burritos, desserts, enchiladas, pizza, cheese, omelette, pasta, wings, rice, steaks, dumplings, curry, ramen/noodles, soups/stews and vegan/vegetarian.” Toast then compared the average volume for the month of Mar.  2024 to the average volume for Apr. 2024. Results shown are the top ten movers for the categories listed.

Benchmark Insights are not to be construed as recommendations or professional advice of any kind. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained in Benchmark Insights. Toast does not guarantee that you will achieve any specific results, and you should consult with your professional advisors for advice specific to your circumstances, including without limitation with respect to any purchasing decisions. Toast reserves the right at any time to add, delete or modify Benchmark Insights or any data contained therein.

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