Restaurant performance hits a wall in July, intensified by staffing headaches


TDn2K, Nation's Restaurant News

Aug 08, 2019


TDn2K (Transforming Data into Knowledge) is the leading insights & knowledge provider of restaurant industry human resources, financial performance and consumer insights data through their products People Report™, Black Box Intelligence™ and White Box Social Intelligence™.


Restaurant sales and traffic plummeted during July, posting the worst year-over-year results in almost two years. Same-store sales growth was -1.0 percent during the month, a drop of one percentage point from June’s results. It is the first time since September 2017 that the industry has seen sales growth numbers this low.


Same-store traffic growth was -4.0 percent during July. This represented a 0.8 percent decline from June’s year-over-year growth and the weakest traffic growth for the industry since August of 2017. This update comes from Black Box Intelligence™ data from TDn2K™, based on weekly sales from over 31,000 locations representing 170+ brands and nearly $72 billion in annual sales.


July has been consistently soft over the last few years for chain restaurant sales. July tends to have the poorest same-store sales growth results each year going back to 2017 after excluding winter months affected by bad weather. It’s easy to illustrate how bad July sales have been lately by taking a longer-term view. Chain restaurants lost 3.3 percent of their sales in July 2019 compared to their 2016 results. By comparison, since August of 2018, all other months have, on average, showing only a 1.1 percent loss in restaurant sales when compared with the same month three years ago.


“Without a doubt, we are experiencing a year-over-year slowdown in restaurant same-store sales coming, in part, from lapping over tougher sales comparisons dating back to Q2 2018,” said Victor Fernandez, vice president of insights and knowledge for TDn2K.


“But July’s unique challenges for chain restaurants likely play a significant part in the downfall we saw in the results. Once a significant portion of restaurant guests are taken off their usual routines, they tend to shift some of their spending toward other food-at-home or food-away-from-home options,” advised Fernandez.


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Looking Ahead ...


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