What are the Most Valuable Dayparts for Operators in America?

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That’s the million-dollar question, figuratively and literally. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a definitive, scientific answer from a respected data analytics firm so you could take action and boost your revenue?

Nielsen CGA to the rescue! Nielsen, a respected global analytics company that provides consumer and market data, took an equity stake in CGA, an esteemed data and research consultancy firm that specializes in outside-the-home food and drinks markets, back in 2009. The joint venture released their first on-premise consumer survey focused on the United States market in 2016.

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And now their Check-Level Insights Pool, or CLIP, data has revealed the most valuable dayparts for bars and restaurants in the U.S. To obtain their information, Nielsen CGA looked at data from chain and independent on-premise bar and restaurant operations from the period starting April 1, 2017 and ending March 31, 2018.

This means that the following findings are of equal importance to the indies and the chains.

First, CLIP data has revealed that 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., identified by Nielsen CGA as Happy Hour/Early Evening, makes up almost 61 percent of the average weekly sales for restaurants and bars in the U.S. The average check after discounts and including food and drinks for this daypart occasion comes to $68.99. Compared to other daypart occasions, this represents an increase of $8.

Second, Nielsen CGA’s data shows that Happy Hour/Early Evening isn’t as dominant during the weekend. However, in terms of dollar sales it’s still the most important time of day on Saturday (51 percent) and Sunday (46 percent).

Finally, this insight identified a weekday daypart opportunity for bar and restaurant operators. According to Nielsen CGA’s CLIP, Wednesday is the underdog operators should leverage. Hump Day, when compared to other weekdays, enjoys a jump of almost 24 percent in average check traffic.

Breaking down the CLIP findings into first, second and third place in terms of most valuable dayparts, we have:

  • Saturday
  • Friday
  • Wednesday

If your POS system has kicked out reports that have provided similar insight, Nielsen CGA has quantified the results scientifically.

“For the first time, foot traffic and check averages are quantified and brands should act on it,” says Nielsen CGA senior vice president Scott Elliott. “This Wednesday Happy Hour ‘spike’ is an opportunity for retailers to better cater to consumer’s need for a mid-week break by promoting more premium products rather than the lowest priced alternatives so often available mid-week.”


Nielsen CGA’s CLIP (Check-Level Insights Pool) data reflecting data from both Chain and Independent on-premise bars and restaurants (April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018).

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