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Everyone has to eat somewhere, and knowing how and where your customers choose to eat (a metric known as share of stomach) is vital to reaching them with the right menu items, marketing messages, price points and atmosphere. Consumer eating patterns are impacted by the economy, food trends and other factors. In the highly competitive restaurant and grocery sector, it’s important to continually monitor the factors impacting share of stomach, especially as the pandemic and recovery continues to unfold. Here’s the lowdown on this important metric and how to use it to drive revenue.

How Share of Stomach is Defined

Share of stomach gives you insight into where consumers are eating. Of all the money a consumer spends on food, where does the customer spend it? Do they buy groceries? Eat at fast food restaurants? Order meal kits? Each type of eating option – ranging from grocery stores to fast food restaurants, makes up a portion of consumer eating patterns. These portions, or shares of stomach, help you understand consumer food buying habits.

Understanding share of stomach allows you to spot emerging trends in consumer eating habits and track them over time. As you plan to open new locations and explore new menu items and offerings, it, along with other important restaurant metrics, helps you determine what types of eating experiences your customers are interested in.

How Share of Stomach is Measured

Share of stomach data is collected in a couple of different ways. Some data aggregators use polling to identify where consumers are eating. Others aggregate data from publicly available sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This provides broad data on how consumers spend money in the grocery industry and at restaurants. But it’s usually not granular enough to be used for making business-level decisions.

At BBI, we collect share of stomach data by tracking consumer credit and debit card transactions. Transactions are segmented by type of establishment: traditional grocery, online grocery, meal kits, third party delivery, limited service restaurants and full service restaurants. This granular data set enables restaurants to make more informed business decisions.

The Difference between Share of Stomach, Share of Wallet and Share of market

There are several “share” metrics that help restaurants understand where they stand competitively. These metrics help you see what consumers are spending on food specifically, how much consumers are spending on particular brands and how much they’re spending at your restaurant compared to your competition. Here’s how to distinguish between the various “share” metrics.

What is share of wallet?

Share of wallet, like share of stomach, helps you understand where consumers are spending their money. However, while share of stomach is focused on broader food buying habits, share of wallet is focused on how much a consumer spends with a particular brand. For example, if a customer has a $200 monthly budget for food, and they spend $50 of that at a particular restaurant, then that restaurant occupies 25% of their share of wallet.

How to calculate share of wallet

In order to calculate share of wallet, you need to know how many brands exist within a certain category and how those brands are ranked for customer preference. To determine customer preference, you’ll need to survey the ideal customer that you’re trying to profile. With that data, you can use the Wallet Allocation Rule developed by a team of leading business management researchers to calculate your share of wallet.

What is market share?

Share of market, or market share, is the percentage of a market a particular brand owns, measured in revenue or number of customers. Like share of wallet, share of market shows you how you’re doing when compared to other brands. Market share can be segmented by metro area, region, or restaurant category.

How to calculate market share

To determine your restaurant’s market share, divide the company’s total revenue by the total revenue generated by the industry in the same period:

(Company revenue during a time period/Total industry revenue during the same time period)

What you can learn from share of stomach and other metrics

Understanding share of stomach, share of wallet and market share is vital for any restaurant competitive analysis. How and where consumers eat varies and their habits can change due to new trends in food, economic changes and even cultural shifts. As consumers become more demanding, and the market grows more competitive, understanding where they’re spending their money is critical to meeting those demands and adapting as they change.

In addition to supporting restaurant competitor analyses, share of stomach can also help you plan future expansions. For example, if more consumers are spending money on limited-service restaurants, now may not be the time to launch a slew of new fine dining locations. It may be better to pare down those plans for now, and only launch in the most viable markets.

Share of stomach can also tell you how your customer demographics are changing, or if they differ from the larger sample in your market. This allows you to narrow your targets to the audiences who are actually buying your product, making your marketing efforts more effective.

Making share of stomach and consumer intelligence metrics actionable

Understanding share of stomach (as well as share of wallet and market share) provides context for trends you may see in your revenue or guest sentiment. For instance, if you see your market share is shrinking and your reviews are trending downward, then you can drill down into the cause of those bad reviews to recapture your lost piece of the market. Or, if your sales are down, it may be due to the fact that consumer spending on food is down in general, which you can assess by analyzing share of wallet, share of market and competitive intelligence.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence tells you how your business performs in comparison to your competition. It enables you to create profiles of your competition so you can identify your differentiators and market them effectively.

A robust consumer intelligence tool will show you your competition’s share of the market, which can give you an idea of the competitive landscape and how much market share you can reasonably capture. It can also help you plan ways to be more competitive.

Consider BBI’s consumer intelligence product so you can get comprehensive, up-to-date data on broader consumer spending trends, demographics and more, so you can make more informed strategic decisions for your business.

Do you have access to rich, consumer data?

Speak with a product expert to learn how Black Box Consumer Intelligence™ can give you detailed consumer data to understand your share of the market, share of wallet and share of stomach compared to your competitors.


What do I get with my Black Box Consumer Intelligence subscription?

  • Cloud-based technology that streamlines the process of working with massive data sets
  • Track brand-specific competitor sales performance and demographics data
  • Expand your insight into other verticals such as meal-kit services, third-party delivery, retail and more, and assess how you business is impacted
  • Over one million filter combinations and billions of data points, crunched in seconds, driven by transactions from 20 million debit and credit cards
  • Data submission is not required, simply log in and start viewing data
  • Filter years of transaction history with daily level granularity for any date or date range


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