Archive for the “Consumer Insights” Category

Do you want fries with that? Beware the french fry giveaway

Monday marked National French Fry Day, one of the more popular of the arbitrary food holidays celebrated annually. (It was followed by National Grand Marnier Day on Tuesday and National Tapioca Pudding Day Wednesday – who knew?)

While most of these foodie festivals pass by without much fanfare, Americans’ particular love for the deep-fried potato drives many restaurants to mark the occasion, typically by offering free fries on the holiday.

While such a reward is likely to drive visits, restaurants should be prepared to see a drop in overall check size. When a medium-sized fast casual chain used free fries as a reward during a We Miss You campaign, they saw a 3.55% lift in visits, but a 1.34% drop in spend. […]

Fuel sales data suggests shorter trips for July 4th this summer

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this July 4th holiday was anticipated to be, in relative terms, one of the weakest Independence Day travel periods in the last 50 years. But while overall travel was down, the percentage of Americans traveling by car was projected to be higher than usual, a prediction that appears to be supported by fuel sales data.   

Comparing 2020 and 2019 data is more difficult than usual; this year the 4th fell on Saturday but the holiday was observed on Friday. Last year, it fell and was observed on Thursday.  The charts below show the gas sales (measured in gallons) over the holiday period and in the weeks running up to the holiday.   

On each chart the solid lines are the sales on that day, the dotted lines are the same day the previous week as a comparison.  We can see some key similarities and differences in the data between the 2 years:  

In both years we see a run up in sales above the previous week, beginning a few days before the holiday (excluding the Tuesday in 2019) as people fuel up their cars in advance of planned trips.  This indicates that holiday celebrations still involved travel in 2020.  […]

Scenes from Moody Street, the Area’s Latest Outdoor Cafe

Moody Street in Waltham has long been a key restaurant destination for the Boston area. The storefronts are packed with eateries, most smaller but a few chains as well. In response to the pandemic, the City of Waltham shut down Moody Street to cars and gave it over to the restaurants, turning it into a pedestrian-only boulevard with outdoor seating.

The response has been nothing less than spectacular, […]

Contactless Payment Goes Mainstream

Of all of the changes COVID-19 will usher into society, one of the most lasting and most prominent will is likely to be an aversion to touching shared surfaces, from door handles to pin pads. That aversion has only been part of the national zeitgeist for a few months, but has already accelerated the trend toward touchless payments.  

About 47% of American consumers are expected to use mobile wallets in 2020. Even two years ago, half of the United States’ stores – approximately 5 million locations – accepted Apple Pay, and 4 million accepted Google Pay.  

Before the pandemic, contactless payments’ biggest hurdle to overcome was security concerns, despite being more secure than traditional payment methods; but as public health concerns become society’s primary focus, lesser fears over security are likely to fall by the wayside.  

The most common form of contactless payment, via the mobile wallet, has big upsides for businesses even beyond public health and consumer comfort. Digital loyalty cards can be seamlessly linked to the mobile wallet, positively impacting penetration rates. Digital payments will enable pay-at-table features and make on-the-go transactions more convenient. And stored-value mobile cards, like the ones Starbucks popularized, will become more mainstream, providing businesses with small, interest-free loans.  

For more information on the benefits of touchless payments, check out this webinar: Is Touchless Payment the New Normal?