At Sense360 we spend all day looking at data and trying to understand how consumers interact with the world around them. One of my favorite things to explore is consumer habits around eating.

It turns out that visitors to restaurants are fairly predictable. Here is a chart that plots close to 10 million visits to the top 100 QSRs (quick serve restaurants) by hour of the day.

VisitsPerHour (4)

You’ll quickly notice that 12 is by far the most popular hour, but its a very quick rise and fall because it seems almost everyone eats around 12. However, dinner is almost as big of a meal, but it is spread out over several hours as people’s dinner habits tend to vary more.

Another interesting contrast is weekdays versus weekends.

This chart plots the same data, but only during weekdays. The lunch peak and dinner peak are more pronounced as work tends to force people to eat at a regular schedule of lunch at 12 and dinner between 5 – 7.

VisitsPerHourWeekdays (10)

However, on the weekend when people have more freedom, they tend to spread out their restaurant visits more evenly. There is still the clear 12 o-clock peak (human-nature), but there is clearly more brunch, early afternoon and late dinners happening as well.

VisitsPerHourWeekend (10)

Sense360 is an insights firm with a panel of over 2 million anonymous consumers and data on more than 150 million consumer trips a month. By understanding the visits and journeys of millions of people in the real-world, we are able to provide restaurants and retailers with detailed competitive and consumer insights.