The Q4 2022 Restaurant Trends Report also includes data on the average number of transactions per restaurant location, beer and delivery updates from the Super Bowl, a look into various metro areas across the U.S., and tipping trends.
BOSTON, MA – Toast (NYSE: TOST), the all-in-one digital platform built for restaurants, today announced its Q4 2022 Restaurant Trends Report, providing insight into the overall state of the U.S. restaurant industry through an analysis of aggregated sales data from selected cohorts of restaurants in select U.S. metropolitan areas on the Toast platform, which serves approximately 79,000 restaurant locations in the U.S. as of Dec. 31, 2022. The report also includes data from Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 12, 2023) and Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2023). Read more details about our methodology below.
According to our analysis, despite cooling, inflation* remained a primary concern for restaurant operators and guests in the closing months of 2022. As the Fed raised interest rates and fears of a recession loomed, restaurants and diners adapted to an ever-changing macroeconomic environment. So how exactly did that play out? Let’s dive in.
*According to the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Metro area transaction counts
One big question likely on the mind of restaurant operators is: Are more people patronizing restaurants, whether dining in or taking out? To answer this question we dove into Toast data from 12 metropolitan areas across the United States and used a select cohort of restaurants to determine how the average number of transactions per restaurant location has changed from Q4 2022 when compared to Q4 2021.
The good news? Guests continue to enjoy their favorite restaurants, as the average transaction count was up in every metropolitan area that Toast explored, except for the Phoenix metro area. The New York City metropolitan area, for example, saw an approximate 10% increase in average transactions per restaurant location on the Toast platform in Q4 2022 when compared to Q4 2021.
Other areas experienced slower growth, according to our data, such as the San Francisco metropolitan area, which only grew its average transaction count by 2% in Q4 2022 when compared to Q4 2021. The Phoenix metro area had a decline of 3% in its Toast transaction count in Q4 2022 when compared to Q4 2021.
Methodology: Toast analyzed the number of same-store transactions in select metropolitan areas that were greater than $0.00 from a cohort of restaurants on the Toast platform from Oct. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2022, to determine the average number of transactions per restaurant location on the Toast platform in Q4 2021 and 2022. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers that have been on the platform since 2019 to show COVID-19 pandemic recovery trends.
The State of Dates in America
A new question Toast set out to find the answer to is what is the cost of date nights in America? So we looked at the biggest date night of the year — Valentine's Day.
The average full-service restaurant Valentine’s Day dinner with food and drink on the Toast platform costs diners $102 in 2023 before tips, which is down from $107 in 2022. Applying the average tip percentage for full-service restaurants in Q4 2022 at 19.6% and looking at a cohort of restaurants in 12 U.S. metropolitan areas, a Valentine’s Day full-service restaurant date night for two in 2023 with food and drink costs an average of $121 plus tax. In 2018, the average Valentine’s Day date at similarly situated full-service restaurants with tip cost just $69 without tax.
While Toast data suggests that the average Valentine’s Day food price dropped YOY from 2022 to 2023, the amount that people spend on alcohol has remained pretty consistent from 2021 through 2023, with an average spend of about $33 across the three-year period.
Methodology: Toast analyzed February 14 transaction sizes for two people during in-restaurant dinner service at full-service restaurants on the Toast platform from 2018 to 2023. Restaurants that had less than five transactions were excluded. Taxes not included. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers and did not include restaurants that started using Toast on or after January 1, 2021.
Looking at that same criteria across several other metropolitan areas, we compared an average date night in the New York City metro area, which cost $131 before tips. Add in the average 19.6% tip for full-service restaurants in Q4 2022, and a full-service restaurant meal for two with drinks costs an average of $156 plus tax.
Methodology: Toast analyzed transaction sizes for two people during dinner service at full-service restaurants on the Toast platform on February 14, 2023, with two guests. Restaurants that had less than five transactions were excluded. Taxes are not included.
Beer, chicken wings, and the desire to never leave the couch
The Eagles may have lost the Super Bowl, but the Philadelphia metropolitan areas crushed the Kansas City metro areas in beers ordered, according to data we analyzed from restaurants on the Toast platform in those areas. At an average cost of $7.19 a pop, Philly metro area restaurants on average served 109% more beer during Super Sunday 2023 than in 2022, while the Kansas City metro area was only up 67%. The metro areas around Phoenix, the hosting city in 2023, increased its average beer sales by 20% YOY but also increased the average price of its beer by 55% YOY to $11.41.
Methodology: Toast analyzed all menu items labeled “beer” sold on February 13, 2022, and February 12, 2023. Toast used a cohort of 2021 same-store customers to weight metro area growth and did not include restaurants that started using Toast on or after January 1, 2021.
There’s nothing more American than football, chicken wings, and beer. But did Americans order delivery on game day like they did in 2022? Toast compared same-store delivery transactions on the Toast platform on Super Bowl Sunday in 2023 and 2022 in select geographies. The percentage of delivery orders increased in every metro area Toast analyzed except for Philadelphia. The Salt Lake City metro area took the prize for food delivery, though, with a 13% year-over-year increase in delivery transactions on Toast.
Methodology: Toast analyzed delivery transactions on February 13, 2022, and February 12, 2023. Toast used a cohort of 2021 same-store customers to weight metro area growth and did not include restaurants that started using Toast on or after January 1, 2021.
According to data collected through xtraCHEF by Toast, which offers food cost management software for restaurants, the average chicken wing cost at restaurants using the service the week leading up to the Super Bowl in 2023 averaged $2.52 per pound. That’s down approximately 39% when compared to the week leading up to the Super Bowl in 2022, when wings cost approximately $4.10 per pound for restaurants using the xtraCHEF by Toast service. According to the National Chicken Council, demand for chicken wings skyrocketed during the pandemic, which was heightened by labor shortages and production costs.
Methodology: Toast analyzed weekly invoice items labeled “wing” and “wings” from restaurants using xtraCHEF by Toast. Wing types included Jumbo Chicken Wings, Whole Chicken Wings, Chicken Party Wings, Large Chicken Wings, Boneless Chicken Wings, Jumbo Chicken Party Wings, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Chicken Drumette Wings, Jumbo Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Wings, Chicken Wings Disjointed. Characteristics included Cooked, Breaded, Fried, Pre-Cooked, Roasted, Breaded/Cooked, Breaded/Hot & Spicy, Roasted/Breaded, Roasted/Cooked, Marinated, Smoked etc. Items were weighted by the frequency of orders, not quantity.
To discover food trends in metro areas across the U.S., Toast identified cuisine types with the largest YOY same-store sales increases in certain metro areas. Among the trends found, Thai food saw a significant YOY sales increase in Cleveland (+23%) and Seattle (+19%). In New Orleans, Chinese cuisine grew sales year-over-year by +43% in Q4 2022.
Methodology: Toast analyzed same-store sales from a cohort of restaurants on the Toast platform. Growth rates are measured by year-over-year gross payment processing volume. Toast used a cohort of same-store customers that have been on the platform since 2019.
Hot Tip: Always Tip Your Server
Our data suggests that people are choosing to tip with a card or digital payment at QSRs more frequently. Approximately 48% of transactions at QSR restaurants on the Toast platform included a tip in the form of a card or digital payment in Q4 2022. That’s up approximately 11% since Q1 2020.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there was no tip on the remaining transactions. There’s always good old-fashioned cash.
Based on Toast’s data from restaurants on the Toast platform, the tipping percentage for quick-service restaurants in Q4 2022 was 15.9%, dipping from 16.4% in Q4 2021. Full-service restaurant tips averaged 19.6% in Q4 2022, dropping from 19.8% in Q4 2021. In-person dining tips averaged 19.6%, while those who got delivery or takeout tipped an average of 14.3%. Although every tipping category dropped slightly YOY, the total average tip percentage in Q4 2022 was 19%, down from 19.2% in Q4 2021.
Methodology: Data from applicable restaurants on the Toast platform where a tip was added to the order via a card or digital payment. Toast used a cohort of 2019 same-store customers to show COVID-19 pandemic recovery trends.
To gain further insight into tipping trends, Toast looked at the average tip percentages in a mix of 12 metropolitan areas in the United States across transactions where a tip was added to the order via a credit card or digital payment. Cleveland was the clear winner, with an average tipping rate of 20.6%.
Methodology: Data from applicable restaurants on the Toast platform where a tip was added to the order via a card or digital payment. Toast compared restaurants in certain metro areas using the Toast platform in Q4 2021 to restaurants using the Toast platform in Q4 2022. Cash tips not included in analysis.
Move over, Indiana. The state of Delaware had the highest average tip percentage of restaurants using the Toast platform in Q4 2022 at 21.8%, a full percentage point over Indiana. This is the first time that Indiana has been bumped from the top spot since Toast started tracking state tipping averages on its platform. California remains the least generous state for tipping on the Toast platform, with an average tip percentage of 17.5%.
Methodology: Data from applicable restaurants on the Toast platform where a tip was added to the order via a card or digital payment. Toast compared restaurants in each state using the Toast platform in Q4 2021 to restaurants using the Toast platform in Q4 2022. Cash tips not included in analysis.
Methodology: The Restaurant Trends Report, powered by Toast, uncovers key trends across the restaurant industry through aggregated sales data from a selection of cohorts of restaurants on the Toast platform, which has approximately 79,000 locations as of Dec 31, 2022, in the U.S. All growth rates are calculated on a same-store sales basis for the applicable period of time. The Restaurant Trends Report is not indicative of the operational performance of Toast or its reported financial metrics, including GMV growth and same-store GMV growth.
All metro areas referenced in this report refer to their corresponding Metropolitan Statistical Areas: New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA; San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA; Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI MSA; New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSA; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA; Denver-Aurora, CO MSA; Salt Lake City, UT MSA; Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA; Richmond, VA MSA; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA; Kansas City, MO-KS MSA; Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA.