Today’s economy continues to drive surprises inconsumer spending. According to new consumer and business spendingdata for Q4/2010, released by American Express, consumers continueto exercise caution in travel and luxury spending (e.g. airfaresand jewelry) while splurging on….fast food!
Among the top 10% of American Express customers in terms ofspending, spending at QSRs increased four%, while casual dining wasoff four%. Even among large businesses, spending at QSRs was upsix%. Looks like those new corporate and household travel policiesare taking effect.
The spend side, of course, is just part of the story. QSRs are, infact, increasing their appeal to more upscale consumers and adultsin general (adults generally being more affluent than kids).McDonalds in particular is leading the pack with its redesignedmenu and restaurant formats. As noted in news reports, thevenerable Ronald McDonald is also playing more of a role in charitythan in advertising these days. WiFi is probably a bigger draw. As,of course, is the indispensable coffee menu.
QSR ticket sizes will surely rise as affluent consumersincreasingly join the QSR crowd and as the menu evolves to meettheir preferences. Any remaining consumer reluctance to pay with acredit card will likely fall away, as they help keep the Q inQSR.
Too bad about those rising tickets sizes on gasoline…let’s go localand get some deluxe burgers-we can charge it.