By: Mikey Renan

Black Friday is known to be one of the busiest days of the year for brick and mortar retailers. Even as consumers continue to shift their purchasing to the digital world – evidenced by the $6.5B+ spent on Cyber Monday this year – consumers still flocked to malls and big box retailers for their in-store sales this year. Some consumers (i.e. me) even drove to a mall, looked for parking for 45 minutes, gave up, and decided to leave without shopping. Needless to say, stores and malls were not empty on Black Friday.

As a Sense360 employee, I’m obsessed with restaurant insights, so while driving around the parking lot on November 24th, I decided I’d make lemonade out of the situation. I dug into our data to uncover the impact of Black Friday on the Restaurant Industry, and found some super interesting insights. Below are 5 interesting facts about Restaurants on Black Friday. In the spirit of the holiday I may even throw in an additional insight free of charge:

  • Guests visited Casual and Family Dining Restaurants significantly more on Black Friday vs. the typical Friday. This is a similar trend to other holiday Fridays, like Veterans Day 2 weeks earlier.

  • Unlike FSRs, QSR visitation took a hit on Black Friday. QSRs did not see the same decline in visitation on Veterans Day, when there was no negative trend in QSR visitation:

  • Dealing with Black Friday shopping must require coffee. And shoppers seem to prefer Starbucks caffeination to McDonald’s caffeination on the holiday. Starbucks Coffee saw an ~15% lift in market share on Black Friday vs. the prior 8 Fridays, whereas McDonald’s saw an ~8% decrease in their market share on the day.


Note: For this investigation, Market Share was defined by dividing a brand’s visits by the total visits across QSR, Fast Casual, Family Dining, and Casual Dining visits. Starbucks Coffee saw the greatest increase in market share out of all observed restaurants.


  •  It’s best to eat a hearty meal before shopping. It’s not just about filling up on coffee. Five out of the top ten brands to see market share lift on Black Friday serve breakfast. IHOP (#2) Cracker Barrel (#3), Waffle House (#6), Denny’s (#9), Perkins Family Restaurant (#10) all saw significant boost in their share of the market on Black Friday vs. the typical Friday, and “Relaxed Breakfast” saw the greatest lift of all meal occasions (52% increase).


  • Eating on Black Friday is not just about fueling up for shopping. Consumers also relaxed for a longer meal. Longer duration visits made up a significantly larger portion of total restaurant visits on Black Friday vs. the prior 8 Fridays. There was a 14% increase in share of visits lasting longer than 20 minutes, as well as a 13% increase in visits lasting over 90 minutes.


  • BONUS: I can only imagine how long it took to find parking in Tennessee on Black Friday! Two of the top three DMAs to see increases in Casual and Family Dining visitation increase on Black Friday were in Volunteer state (Chattanooga #1 and Knoxville #3). I hope the restaurants had Volunteers on staff to deal with the excess traffic.

Until next time, please shop responsibly.