On July 12th, Chick-Fil-A ran its annual Cow Appreciation Day  where any customer dressed in cow attire received a free entree. Sense360 data shows that this seemingly silly promotion is actually exceptionally smart marketing worth in excess of $8,000,000 in foot traffic.

Chick-Fil-A typically averages 3% of all QSR visits in the United States with the exception of Sunday when all Chick-Fil-A locations are closed. The chart below plots Chick-Fil-A visitors in June and July as a percentage of all QSR visits for every day of the week (without including July 12th).

Chifck-Fil-A traffic by day of week

Graph showing chick-fil-a traffic by day of week

However, if we look at Chick-Fil-A visits as a percentage of QSR visits on a daily basis in July, Tuesday the 12th stands out all alone as being significantly higher (4.1% of total QSR traffic). Thats means that on this one single day, Chick-Fil-A took an extra 1.1% of the entire QSR category. That lift is the equivalent of the daily foot traffic to In-N-Out, White Castle, and Carl’s Jr. combined!

daily cfa traffic

Graph showing increase in foot traffic for chick-fil-a due to cow appreciation day

What is even more interesting is to look at the market share that Chick-Fil-A took on that day against all the QSRs within 0.5 miles of its locations. In other words, how many people who were going to a QSR and were within striking distance of a Chick-Fil-A decided to go there rather than a competitor? In this localized analysis Chick-Fil-A took an astounding 5% of the market.

chickfila proximity marketshare

Graph showing Chick-Fil-A share of visits within 0.5 miles of each location.

Clearly Cow Appreciation Day worked and brought in a lot of customers. But how much is this extra traffic worth? US consumers spend $273 billion dollars a year in QSRs, which if you divide by 365 days a year means that the total QSR market is worth roughly $750 million a day. A 1.1% increase in foot traffic means Chick-Fil-A siphoned off roughly $8 Million in foot traffic from the industry.

Over the next few weeks we’ll explore the impact of this extra foot traffic and if it created sustainable (and paying) lift.

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 consumers in the real-world, we are able to provide restaurants and retailers with detailed competitive and consumer insights.