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How to find out transaction counts for credit cards used in restaurants
May 27, 2010 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Been trying my best google-fu to no avail... so perhaps someone here might know where to point me.I am trying to determine the number of credit card transaction count and dollars annually that are used in the food industry, optimally broken out by fast food, restaurant and if possible restaurant bar by credit card type by year. Knowing this info for other countries would be helpful too. thanks so much for any help you can provide. smiles to all.
posted by wildpetals to Food & Drink (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A few points here that might help: first, some of this data more than likely won't be available in the public domain, while other data won't be available for free. And always with free data, I'd be very cautious / suspect, especially so if there wasn't a second source I could confirm the veracity of the free data against (this is the biggest problem of "free" financial data on the internet … you get what you pay for).

This concern especially applies to the requested credit card transaction count metric. The only entities that would have this data at the aggregate level would, of course, be the card companies themselves (e.g., AMEX, etc). I'm not sure they'd give it away simply because of competitive concerns, especially so for free.

Second, the world is a pretty big place. At the outset of your research I suggest you narrow significantly, perhaps along the "group of X" e.g., G7, G20 unless you've got a special interest in developing nations. Even looking at the G7 is going to prove difficult considering what you're after (see point four).

Third, I suspect you're going to have to align data from disparate sets.

Euromonitor can source some of this data, for example sales driven by fast food ("Consumer Foodservice") but they don't further subdivide sales by payment type.

When you start joining datasets from different vendors lots of problems, some small and not so small arise. For example, frequency of collection / publishing, what geographical boundaries will be available, etc.

Fourth, consumption / cultural patterns across nations will skew direct comparisons. For example, Nederlands doesn't have such a large credit card culture as The United States; they do enjoy their fast food but (prudently) pay cash. How would this reflect / bias your results? Now we're back to narrowing your initial research, perhaps starting out and competing this exercise for America only, then expanding.

Finally and most importantly - do you have an affiliation with a University? The paid services that you're going to have to reference will almost always be available in your university library. I'd suggest you look at Euromonitor, as well DataStream and perhaps FAME. There are other databases available as well, but my orientation is Capital Markets and I use these in my research.

Hope this helps!
posted by Mutant at 12:01 AM on May 28, 2010

Foodservice market data is incredibly unreliable. Of the companies that purport to have data on it, all I can think of estimate heavily. In essence most take estimations of sales from the big chains and make an estimation for "other". Bear in mind as well that spend in hotels - by which I mean the split between accommodation and food - gets muddled up too.

There is no database I know of that tracks spend by payment type. As Mutant says, it will be a difficult exercise in aligning data from different datasets.

The quickest route to getting the data would be through a representative consumer survey of purchasing habits and aligning this with foodservice industry data. It's not perfect, but you'd have to do something similar just to see how and where consumers use their credit cards.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:48 AM on May 28, 2010

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