Strong holiday sales close best year for restaurants since 2015

Menu price increases and reduced discounting offset sluggish traffic

 

Nation's Restaurant News

Jan 10, 2019

 

The restaurant industry had plenty to celebrate during the 2018 holiday season: December’s same-store sales growth of 2 percent was the highest since August 2015.

 

December became the seventh consecutive month of positive growth, which highlights the industry’s strength throughout the last year. By comparison, the industry was only able to post positive sales growth during two months of 2017.

 

These insights come from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence data, based on weekly sales from over 31,000 locations representing more than 170 brands and nearly $72 billion in annual sales.

 

“Perhaps the most encouraging news for the industry came in the form of the unusually strong fourth quarter results,” said Victor Fernandez, vice president of insights and knowledge for TDn2K. “Same-store sales growth during the fourth quarter was +1.4 percent, which was the highest in over three years. Moreover, the industry was able to post these results on top of the only quarter with positive sales growth last year.

 

“The industry’s recovery from a longer-term perspective also continued to show some upward momentum,” he added. “Same-store sales during the fourth quarter increased by slightly over 1.4 percent compared with the same period in 2016. Two-year sales growth had been negative for the past eight consecutive quarters.”

 

Annual same-store sales for 2018 were up 0.7 percent. Though that growth was moderate, it marked the best performance by the industry since 2015.

 

Guest counts continue to erode, but there is cause for some optimism ...

 

Price increases and reduced discounting fuel sale momentum ...

 

Fast casual and casual dining improve most, upscale dining still dominates ...

 

Labor market helps boost wage gains and consumer spending ...

 

Staffing difficulties roll into 2019 ...

 

more, including chart

https://www.nrn.com/sales-trends/strong-holiday-sales-close-best-year-restaurants-2015