Fast Food Restaurants Experience Massive Surge in Customers in 2021


The demand for fast food is on the rise in the United States. From January 1 to April 30, 2021, fast food restaurants experienced a 33.06% rise in the number of visits nationwide.

This statistic was unveiled by the data scientists at TOP Data. The research involved the TOP Data team using GPS tracking to analyze visits to 20 of the largest fast-food restaurants in the US.

It focused on the four primary fast-food categories – burgers, Mexican food, fried chicken and pizza.

Fast Food Restaurants See Major Increase in Customers

Burger restaurants topped in the list in the highest increase of visits. From the beginning of January until the end of April this year, there has been a 54.4% increase in visits to burger chains.

Demand for Mexican food has been high. The data shows there has been a 32.1% increase in the number of people visiting Mexican food chains during the same period of 2021.

Shortly behind Mexican restaurants are fried chicken chains, which has experienced a 29.5% increase in visits.

Pizza restaurant chains have also witnessed a surge in demand, with a 16.2% rise in visits in 2021.

The Need to Adapt and Evolve

The Covid-19 pandemic hit many small businesses hard, particularly in the hospitality sector, TOP Agency’s research shows that, with the ability to adapt and evolve creatively, small businesses can enjoy some rewards.

The fast-food industry can be seen as an exemplar to the need to adapt and evolve to get through challenging times.

As the authors of the report note: “The coronavirus pandemic posed many challenges to the overall food industry. With a 26% decline in visits in 2020, the fast-food industry was no-exception. To combat this, many fast-food restaurants have adopted possible strategies for getting through the coronavirus pandemic, including a renewed emphasis on drive-thru service, new menu items, and tactics to tap into existing customer loyalty to pull in sales.”

The States Where Demand for Fast-Food is Highest

TOP Agency’s data also analyzed which states had witnessed the highest increase in visits to fast food restaurants.

It found that Vermont has experienced an 83% rise in visits. This was followed by New Hampshire with a 59% increase, and Illinois with a 58% surge in diners of fast-food. Michigan, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania also witnessed increases in demand for fast food, with rises of 53%, 52% and 52% respectively.

The key takeaway from this insightful research is by modifying business practices, like adding new items to a menu or offering ordering services online, businesses can cater for the evolving demands of customers and get through difficult times.

The research also confirms that when it comes to lucrative businesses, fast food, with its robust growth in recent months, could be a good industry to enter.

Image: Depositphotos

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".