May 16, 2024 - News

Let's do lunch — but not till the weekend

Three slope charts that show the change in weekly share of restaurant transactions from 2019 to 2023 in Miami compared to the U.S. overall. The weekly share of weekday lunch changed from 21% to 17. Happy hour shares changed from 7 to 7. Weekend shares changed from 32 to 34.
Data: Square; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Our restaurant spending is shifting from weekday lunch hours to the weekends, per new Square data.

Why it matters: It's a reflection of pandemic behavior changes — and an important insight for restaurants as they continue adapting to survive and thrive.

By the numbers: Weekday lunch's share of overall restaurant transactions fell in Miami from about 21% in 2019 to 17% in 2023, based on data from food and drink establishments using Square.

  • By contrast, the weekend's share grew from about 32% in 2019 to 34% in 2023.
  • Happy hour transactions hovered at about 7% in both 2019 and 2023.

That is in line with national trends over the same period.

How it works: Square, which makes payments processing tech, defines the "weekday lunch" period as 11am-2pm, the "weekend" as all day Saturday and Sunday, and "happy hour" as weekdays between 4-6pm.

What they're saying: "There's a perception that consumers are cutting back at restaurants, when in fact total spending has increased. The bigger change is in consumer behavior," Square research lead Ara Kharazian said in the company's new report.

  • "Before COVID, consumers were going out more during the week to eat lunch by their office and grab drinks after work. Now with remote work, restaurant spend has shifted to the weekend and we now see that weekend traffic is at its peak."

The bottom line: See you at brunch.


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