QSR, Corporate Entertainment Spend Up

March 31, 2011

american-express-us-large-business-spending-by-restaurant-class-mar11.gifSpending by all US consumer segments at quick service restaurants (QRSs) during Q4 2010 increased by 6% overall compared to Q4 2009, while spending in the casual dining category decreased by 3%, according to [pdf] American Express Business Insights. The QSR category saw increased spend by all consumer segments, particularly large businesses, with 6% growth in spend by this particular group.

Signs Positive Except in Casual Dining

Affluent consumers increased spending at QSRs by 4%, and average consumer spending in this category increased slightly more, by 5%. In a positive sign for restaurants overall, average consumers increase spend per transaction by 4%, and affluent consumers increased spend per transaction by 2% in Q4. However, American Express data indicates the casual dining category has yet to bounce back – spending decreased by 3% in this category.

Corporate Entertaining Sees Resurgence

amex-entertainment-q4-2010-mar-2011.JPGLarge businesses increased overall spend on entertainment significantly in Q4 2010 compared to Q4 2009, increasing it by 10%. Meanwhile, both affluent and average consumer spending remained unchanged in this category, while small businesses increased entertainment spending by a more modest 4%.

However, not all corporate spending was equal; while large businesses’ spend on golf increased by 5% and on performing arts and cinemas increased by 10%, spending on theme parks and nature decreased by 4%.

Consumers Return to Small Luxuries

Consumers are starting to return to pre-recession levels of discretionary spending on small personal luxuries, according to a recent survey from Stores Magazine and BIGResearch. Data from the survey indicates that dinner at a casual sit-down restaurant, a haircut/coloring, and a daily cup of gourmet coffee were all considered “untouchable” by similar percentages of consumers in December 2010 as they were in December 2008.

About the Data: To identify changing spending habits across the dining and entertainment industries, American Express Business Insights examined US consumer and business spending patterns at tens of thousands of dining and entertainment merchants in the US. Average consumers are all consumers living in the US regardless of spending; ultra-affluent consumers are the highest-spending consumers living in the wealthiest neighborhoods. Small businesses have fewer than 100 employees, large businesses have more than 100 employees.

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