Church Attendance Surges, Food Trucks Decline, Says Foursquare

food trucks

For the past year, the tastes of Americans have been changing. Trends in everything from food preferences to religious practice are in flux. And, as a small businesses owner, depending upon your market, it may not hurt to get ahead of some of these shifting interests. Some of the most interesting changes are reflected in a recent infographic from Foursquare (see below).

Foursquare began as a check-in app useful for measuring real-time traffic at brick and mortar stores. Today it is known as a source of recommendations on local food, drink and shopping from local “experts.”

And now Foursquare is leveraging the data from 75 million of these tips to measure changing trends in consumer tastes, trends that might benefit the small business owner.

To begin with, according to Foursquare data, 2015 saw decline in popularity of a hot foodie trend. The year saw a 21 percent decrease in visits to food trucks, seemingly putting a dent in that recent craze.

The data doesn’t reveal whether this change was caused by a preference for indoor dining, an emphasis on healthier eating or something completely different might have been responsible. But the once mighty food truck saw an undeniable decrease in popularity compared to January 2014. 

Meanwhile, two other food trends saw an upswing in popularity. Bubble tea shops saw an incredible rise in popularity, for example.

The tea-based based beverage mixed with fruit of milk and then finished off with chewy tapioca balls or fruit jellies have become all the rage. Data shows visits to these establishments shoot up 192 percent year over year compared with 2014.

Some more food for thought, as it were, relates to another tea related business. You may not have heard of Matcha before. (We hadn’t either, to be honest.) It’s a green tea ground into a specially processed powder and served, not just in beverage form but also as an ingredient in soba noodles, green  tea ice cream and other treats.

Matcha is growing in popularity in New York and San Francisco and may see a breakout in popularity in 2016, according to Foursquare data.

Another trend that may take many by surprise by surprise was a surge in church attendance by 20 percent. This could be thanks to Pope Francis, as the surge happened the week before he visited the U.S. After all, this Pope is cool and his influence may be short lived or may linger on depending upon other factors.

If you do business with churches or have a product or service related to church attendance, it may be wise to see if the increase in church attendance becomes a trend. Otherwise, it may not affect your business long-term.

These are just some of the trends revealed in the Foursquare data for 2015. It remains to be seen what other data the company may make available and whether data available through other  social networks, if made available, may also be of benefit to small businesses.




Images: Foursquare


Lisa Froelings Lisa is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on marketing technology, productivity and general small business news. She has a background in business and productivity consulting including experience in human resources working for a major retailer before deciding to build her own business.

4 Reactions
  1. There’s a typo in the 5th para: “But the once might food truck saw an undeniable decrease in popularity compared to January 2014” — should be mighty. And while you’re at it, editing out one of the “undeniable”s wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

  2. I think the times have really changed. From pure consumerism, people are now more concerned about other things. It is nice to keep track of everything before the year ends.

  3. Lisa,

    I am an avid Foursquare user, so it is interesting to read these stats. I wonder about the popularity of this app, after it was divided into to parts: Foursquare and Swarm.

    FYI: I am tea enthusiast and I glad to see the increased interest in Matcha green tea powder and Bubble tea. Full disclosure: I am an independent distributor of ceremonial grade of Matcha green tea products and I am writing a book series on tea.