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NPD-Restaurant-Deal-Traffic-Changes-2008-2012-Mar2013Restaurant visits on a deal or discount decreased by 3% in the year ending in December 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier, reports the NPD Group. That marks the first year-over-year decrease in deal-driven visits in several years, which the researchers attribute to today’s deals not resonating with customers. In fact, deal-driven traffic has been on a downward trend for at least 4 consecutive years.

In 2008, deal-driven visits grew by 5%, helping to stave off the effects of the recession. The following year, deal-driven traffic growth had slipped to 3%, while in 2010 and 2011 there was no change at all.

As deal-driven traffic growth has declined, non-deal visits have experienced the opposite trend, from a 4% drop in 2009 to a 2% increase in 2012. As the researchers point out, the gap between deal ($5.97) and non-deal ($7.04) checks has narrowed as non-deal check sizes have increased.

While visits that include coupons, buy-one-get-one and discounted price were up in 2012, combo meals and value menu item offers contributed to the overall decline in deal traffic, with younger consumers turning away from those latter deals in particular.

The NPD Group suggests that new deals will have to be introduced, but also recommends that restaurants focus on customer loyalty. Separate results from an NPD Group report indicate that loyal quick service restaurant (QSR) customers (who allocate 20% or more of their QSR visits to the chain) visit twice as often as QSR restaurant switchers (who allocate 19% or less of their visits). Loyal customers also tend to be less sensitive to price, require less marketing, and bring in other buyers, per the report.

About the Data: The data is derived from NPD’s CREST®, which through its daily tracking captures over 400,000 consumer restaurant visits a year.

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