The restaurant industry saw its best sales growth in more than a decade last month, according to analytics company Black box intelligence.
Black Box found that restaurant sales in November were 8.3% higher than in November 2019 and 2.3% higher than in October, making it the best month of sales growth for the industry.
This is undoubtedly good news for the industry which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic last year as fewer people felt safe going out.
“This aligns with what we see in the industry and the restaurant brands we work with,” said John Owen, president of Acrelec Americas, a global technology company focused on reinventing the customer experience for restaurant and retail brands. He went on to explain why he thinks sales have increased.
Pent-up demand certainly plays a role. People are ready to regain a sense of normalcy and comfort, and going out to eat can be one event that brings that feeling to this, but the increase in remote working can also play a role in increasing restaurant sales. People spend more time at home and less money on transportation: they can choose to use some of this disposable income to go out to eat. Remote workers may consider leaving their home, even if it’s just going to pick up a takeout from a restaurant, as an experience to expect.
A return to normal
Last year saw a steep annual drop of 54% in April as well as a 38% drop in May, as the pandemic took hold and many city and state officials closed restaurants or instituted strict precautions, according to Catering company.
Even though many restaurant owners, as well as city and state government officials, have established safety protocols such as mask requirements (depending on the state) and spaced, socially distant seating. , growth was still fragile at best, as sales slowed to a 15% year-over-year decline in October 2020, then to a 17% decline in November.
But as vaccines have become widely available (60.1% of the country’s population are now fully vaccinated), more people felt safe dining out, and the industry naturally rebounded. In July, Black Box announced 11 consecutive weeks of restaurant sales growth. But as customer checks, which Owen says represent the size of a customer’s total spend, are on the rise, the number of customers, or the number of people visiting an establishment, has continued to slow.
How are some popular channels doing?
While the Black Box figures cover November and recent earnings reports cover the previous months, many popular chains have reported earnings which confirms that things are looking up for the industry.
Chipotle (GCM) – Get the report from Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. saw its numbers drop roughly in line with the Black Box report as its same-store sales rose 15.1%.
Mcdonalds (MCD) – Get the report from McDonald’s Corporation saw same-store sales in the United States increase 9.6% while rival Restaurant Brands International (QSR) – Get the Restaurant Brands International Inc report, which counts Burger King and Popeye’s among its brands, saw global sales growth of 12.3% for its hamburger brand and a 4.4% increase for its chicken franchise. (The company does not specifically break down its sales in the United States.
Flowery brands (BLMN) – Get the report from Bloomin ‘Brands, Inc., the parent company of Outback Steakhouse among other brands, reported that its U.S. same-store sales rose 25.5% in its most recent quarter, while Outback posted a gain of 18 , 3%.
Darden (DRI) – Get the report from Darden Restaurants, Inc., which owns a number of brands including Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, saw company-wide same-store sales increase 51% from last year to $ 2.31 billion. dollars, thanks to an increase in mixed sales of the same restaurants of 47.5% and the addition of 34 new restaurants.