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Father’s Day Food Data & Trends: 98% Increase In BBQ Sales

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Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta. Sorry, I had to start with a dad joke to set the mood properly for Father’s Day. As we gear up for Father’s Day, it’s important that restaurants prepare for a busy brunch shift this June 16. Toast is here to help you plan the best Father’s Day brunch shift your restaurant has ever executed. 

We analyzed Toast platform data from full-service restaurants (FSRs) and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) from Father’s Day 2023 and compared it to the average Sunday in 2023, the average day in June, and Mother’s Day 2023, compiling it here with useful tips for restaurant operators. Get your best dad jokes ready!

2023 Father’s Day insights:

  • The average ticket size on Father’s Day was 16% higher than the average Sunday in 2023.  

  • Omelette sales increased by 204% when compared to the average day in June.

  • BBQ sales increased by 98% when compared to the average day in June.

  • Salad sales decreased by 26% when compared to the average day in June. 

  • 37% of transactions on Father’s Day are during brunch.

  • Cider sales increased by 27% compared to the average Sunday in June 2023 and by 33% when compared to Mother’s Day 2023, specifically. 

  • The average spend per check was 12% lower on Father's Day 2023 compared to Mother’s Day 2023. 

Prepare to be busy

Make sure your restaurant is fully staffed and ready for Father’s Day, as it can be busier compared to a typical Sunday. In 2023,  same-store GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) at FSRs on Father’s Day was 35% higher than on the average Sunday.1 Back-of-house staff should expect significantly more prep work, while front-of-house staff should be prepared to deal with heightened demand and larger parties.

The increased business volume on Father's Day 2023 was driven by both more transactions and higher spending per transaction compared to a typical Sunday. There were 16% more transactions at FSRs on Father's Day versus the average 2023 Sunday. Additionally, the average ticket size on Father's Day 2023 was $112 — a 16% premium over the average Sunday ticket.

The Dads are coming for brunch and sweet treats 

While Mother's Day takes the cake for more transactions during brunch at 45%, Father's Day 2023 was still a major brunch occasion, with 37% of all transactions happening during brunch hours.2 Restaurants should be prepared for the brunch rush by stocking up on brunch staples like eggs, as we saw omelette sales spiked a whopping 204% compared to an average Sunday in June 2023.

Dads also seemed to favor proteins and indulgent sweets on their special day. BBQ sales nearly doubled (up 98%), while steak sales jumped 53% versus a typical Sunday in June.3 Restaurant operators would be wise to bulk up on these crowd-pleasers. On the sweet treat side, sales of desserts and pastries surged 62% higher than a normal June Sunday.

However, not everything saw a sales bump. Salad sales actually dropped 26% on Father's Day 2023 compared to the average June Sunday, as dads might be steering clear of the veggies. Consider scaling back salad prep and offerings slightly this June 16 and instead using that station for extra dessert prep.

The Dads are boozing…lightly

When it came to adult beverages on Father's Day 2023, dads seemed to prefer lighter, easy-drinking options. Cider sales jumped 27% compared to the average June Sunday.4 If your bar is low on cider stock because of the season, check out Downeast Cider’s summer flavors. They offer blackberry, peach mango, guava passionfruit, and more! Beer sales also saw a 10% increase, so stock up on the brews. Hard seltzers, though having been popular in recent years, experienced a 21% sales decline on Father's Day versus a typical June Sunday.

The classic "dad drinks" of whiskey and gin didn't get much love either, with sales dropping 21% and 26%, respectively, on Father's Day 2023. This aligns with an overall trend of guests drinking 10% less alcohol on the holiday compared to an average June Sunday that year.

For restaurant operators, this data suggests stocking up on crowd-pleasing ciders and beers while potentially dialing back whiskey, gin, and hard seltzer orders a bit for 2024's Father's Day festivities. Having refreshing lower-ABV options on hand will likely be a hit with this year's dads looking to indulge moderately. If you’re offering drink specials, you might want to focus on beer and cider rather than hard liquors and hard seltzers based on 2023's sales patterns.

Father’s Day vs. Mother’s Day 

While Mother's Day is typically a bigger holiday for restaurants, Father's Day 2023 actually saw 2% more transactions at full-service restaurants compared to Mother's Day that year. However, the average spend per check was 12% lower on Father's Day.

This suggests parties may have been smaller, with fewer guests per table compared to Mother’s Day (when everyone is showing up). It could also mean guests are ordering less items or less expensive items.  

There were also some noticeable differences in beverage preferences between the two holidays. Tequila sales spiked 10% higher on Father's Day versus Mother's Day, while wine sales dropped 13%.6 It’s giving Get Dad a margarita, not a glass of rose. Overall, guests consumed 5% more alcohol on Father's Day celebrations compared to Mother's Day festivities. Bottoms up, let’s toast to Dad!

These comparative insights can help restaurant operators adjust their marketing, inventory, and staffing strategies for each occasion. Mother's Day may call for pushing higher-end wine options and prepping for larger group reservations to maximize check averages. Whereas for Father's Day, having a tequila-forward cocktail lineup and turning tables over more quickly could be priorities based on the 2023 data.

Preparing for Dad's Day 2024

Father's Day 2023 showed that dads have distinct dining habits and preferences compared to moms when it comes to celebrating their special day. From brunch cravings for protein and sweets, to a preference for lighter alcoholic beverages like cider and beer, the data here provides insights you can use to optimize your offerings. No matter which holiday, having the right menu offerings and operational plan in place is key for full-service restaurants to successfully capitalize on these busy celebration periods. 

Menu insights are powered by a Toast benchmarking tool, which leverages an AI-based classification tool and allows users to compare restaurant and menu category performance against aggregated data from Toast restaurants.

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.

Methodology 

1Toast analyzed Sunday transactions from a cohort of full-service restaurants on the Toast platform from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers on the platform since Q4 2022. 

2Toast analyzed the number of transactions at full-service restaurants on June 18, 2023, to determine the busiest hours transactions occurred on Father’s Day. Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding and early morning transactions.

3Toast analyzed transactions on the Toast platform from June 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023,  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 June  2023 to the average volume for June 18, 2023. 

4Toast analyzed transactions from restaurants on the Toast platform on Sundays from June 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023, to determine the popularity of beverages containing “hard seltzer, hard cider, beer, tequila, gin, rum, vodka, wine, and whiskey.” Toast then compared the June 18, 2023 average volume with the average volume of Sundays in June  2023. 

5Toast analyzed transactions from a cohort of full-service restaurants on the Toast platform on June 18, 2023, and May 14, 2023, to compare Mother’s Day 2023 performance and Father’s Day 2023 performance. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers on the platform since Q4 2022. 

6Toast analyzed transactions from restaurants on the Toast platform on June 18, 2023, and May 14, 2023, to determine the popularity of beverages containing “hard seltzer, hard cider, beer, tequila, gin, rum, vodka, wine, and whiskey” on Mother’s Day 2023 compared to Father’s Day 2023.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.