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Mastermind Your Restaurant's Strategy during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

Mastermind Your Restaurant's Strategy during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has proven its mettle as a cultural and economic tour de force. As her concert tour travels across five continents with 152 scheduled shows, the iconic singer-songwriter delivers an economic boost to every city she visits—a phenomenon economists have dubbed the “Swift Lift.” 

If you’re one of the lucky ones in the Swifties cross-hairs—Indianapolis and Vancouver, among others—you’re going to want to prepare to make the most of this opportunity. Read on for critical insights from previous tour dates, and how you can thrive during the Eras Tour. 

Economic impact of the Eras Tour on host city restaurants

Here at Lightspeed, we don’t work on hunches. We believe in validating our instincts with hard data. So when we wanted to know exactly how much “lift” local restaurants in the US were getting from the Eras Tour, and what impact Swifties were having on restaurant orders, if any, we analyzed transaction data from Lightspeed-powered restaurants in Eras Tour host cities within 40 miles of concert venues.

Our analysts compared sales on Eras Tour dates—including overall transactions and ticket sizes, tipping trends and items ordered (both food and beverage)— to same-store and same-day average data one week before and after the event. Whether they were ready for it or not, the boost in spending at restaurants and other hospitality businesses during the days of the tour was clear and consistent. Here’s what we learned.

Zone of impact

Unsurprisingly, the closer to the concert venue, generally the bigger the impact, with restaurants within a five mile radius seeing the biggest revenue boost. In cities like Boston, where concert venues are farther from the city center, restaurants in the city center actually saw a decrease in gross transaction volume (GTV) on tour dates as more rural venues drew people out of the city.

Hometown hero

Donut chart showing Increase in Gross Transaction Volume (GTV) by % on Tour Dates in Selected Cities

Given that Taylor is a Pennsylvania native, it comes as no surprise that our analysis shows that Philadelphia’s local restaurants saw the biggest economic boost during Eras of any US host city examined. In Philly, restaurant gross transaction volume (GTV) increased by a whopping 39% on tour dates and the average check increased by over 10%! 

Maybe that’s why lawmakers approved a resolution on December 13, 2023—Taylor’s 34th birthday—declaring 2023 the “Taylor Swift Era” in her home state of Pennsylvania.

Denver also saw an impressive GTV increase of ~15%, Dallas saw a 6.75% increase and Atlanta saw a 6.53% increase. On average, the megastar boosted restaurant revenue by 3.3% across all US tour locations analyzed.

Taylor the tastemaker

Bar graph showing Vodka Sales in Selected Cities on Taylor Swift Tour Dates vs Non-tour Dates

There’s a lot of media interest in Taylor Swift’s favorite food and drinks—seriously, just Google “Taylor Swift’s favorite drink” and count how many articles come up. And while you might not understand the Swifties’ need to know Ms. Swift at the cellular level, you better believe it can have an impact on sales in your restaurant. Again and again, in host cities across the US, sales of the megastar’s favorite food and drinks spiked on days she was in town.

For example, it’s rumored that Taylor enjoys vodka and diet coke; our analysis showed that vodka sales increased in the majority of US host cities, with standout cities being Denver (~32% increase) and Tampa (~22% increase). Fried chicken sales also increased in a number of host cities—up more than 54% in Seattle—potentially because Taylor once told Vogue she’d eat chicken tenders every day “if calories didn’t count.”

The word on the street is that Taylor’s new favorite drink is The French Blonde, a fruity and floral cocktail made with gin, grapefruit juice, Lillet and a few other ingredients you might not keep on hand on a regular day. But should you? Are we about to see a big spike in gin sales? Time will tell.

Are Swifties good tippers? 

Well, it’s complicated. Taylor herself is rumored to be a very generous tipper, but she’s also a billionaire. As for her superfans, the data is split. All we can say for sure is that servers in some cities took home more in tips than on non-tour dates—including Seattle, which our analysis showed saw increases in both average (~9%) and median tip percentage (~4.75%)—while servers in other cities took home less, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, which saw a very slight drop in both median (-1.57%) and average tip percentage (-2.15%). 

How to thrive during the Eras tour

The Eras Tour draws throngs of excited fans and customers to host cities, and local restaurants have a unique opportunity to cash in on that excitement. With Ms. Swift in Europe all summer, restaurants in host cities in North America have time to create their perfect game plan before she returns.

Here are a few strategies and tips to help you make the most of the “Swift Lift.”

Prepare for the surge

Restaurants within a five mile radius of concert venues should expect larger crowds and adjust staffing and shift times accordingly. Evaluate your menu and workflows for opportunities to streamline and simplify. For example: 

  • Consider a simplified menu or quick service menu that will enable you to speed up service without sacrificing the quality of food or service. Download a free menu template here
  • If it makes sense for your concept, setting up water stations can enable your guests to stay hydrated without running your servers off their feet.
  • If you’ve been sitting on the fence about handheld POS technology, now could be the right time to invest. 

Craft the perfect Swiftie menu

Bar graph showing Fried Chicken Sales in Selected Cities on Taylor Swift Tour Dates vs Non-tour Dates

If the numbers tell us anything, it’s that restaurants close to concert venues may want to stock up on things like chicken fingers and vodka—but don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it! Consider crafting Swift-inspired daily specials or signature drinks named after her songs or albums. Incorporating these into your menu not only caters to Swifties’ tastes but adds a personal touch and an elevated experience that fans will appreciate. 

Spread the word

Once you have your Swiftie plan in place, it’s time to promote it on your social media platforms. (And other places if you feel so inclined and have the budget.) Use hashtags related to the Eras Tour, share engaging images and videos, promote your Swift-inspired food and drink specials, and generally let Swifties know why they should choose your restaurant to celebrate this momentous event. Want more free marketing tips? Check out our Advanced Restaurant Marketing Guide

…Ready for it?

By embracing the excitement around Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and engaging with her fanbase through themed menus and strategic planning, restaurants can not only boost their visibility and sales but also create a memorable experience that resonates with customers long after the concert ends. After the dust settles, it’s time to analyze your data and reports so you can apply what you’ve learned to your game plan for future events, be they Swift or other. 

Looking for a restaurant management platform that can help you turn tables faster, boost revenue and grow your business with powerful insights? Find out what Lightspeed Restaurant can do for you—talk to an expert today


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Une publication partagée par Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

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