This exclusive series to Nation's Restaurant News provides insight into the sales and traffic data from clients subscribing to Black Box Intelligence, a financial performance benchmarking company. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nation's Restaurant News.
Restaurant same-store sales have grown for the third consecutive month, according to the November Restaurant Industry Snapshot published by Black Box Intelligence and People Report this week.
Same-store sales growth for the restaurant industry was 0.8 percent in November, a 0.2-percent drop from the growth rate reported for October.
Although overall guest counts continue to decrease year-over-year for the industry, there are some positive traffic trends as well. Same-store traffic growth improved for the fifth consecutive month, dropping 0.9 percent in November — a 0.5-percent increase compared to the value reported for October.
However, it is important to note that these results are affected by the fact that Thanksgiving fell on different weeks in 2012 and 2013. As a result, this year’s Thanksgiving sales will actually be tallied in December’s total for 2013, per Black Box Intelligence’s weekly guidelines.
“Based on this shift in the holiday, it is really too early to predict what the holiday season will look like this year,” said Victor Fernandez, Executive Director of Insights and Knowledge for TDn2K, the parent company of Black Box Intelligence and People Report. “Beyond the shift in Thanksgiving the shorter shopping days will no doubt be challenging. However, many macro signs point to a positive season overall.”
One of those signs can be found in the Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index produced by Consumer Edge Research. The index jumped to 93 last month, seven points higher than October, when it suffered a major downturn. This indicator points toward strong sales during the holiday season and an improvement in guest counts for the industry.
The latest numbers from People Report continue to show rising turnover levels for both restaurant managers and hourly employees. Staffing pressure continues for restaurant companies as chains continue expanding and thus add to their headcounts. October saw the total number of employees at the restaurant level increasing by 1.8 percent year-over-year, which is consistent with the 1.9 percent that was reported for September.
The Restaurant Industry Snapshot is a compilation of real sales and traffic results from over 180 DMAs from 100+ restaurant brands and approximately 16,000+ restaurants that are clients of Black Box Intelligence, a TDn2K company. Currently, data is reported in four distinct segments: casual dining, upscale/fine-dining, fast casual, and family dining. Black Box Intelligence is a sister company to People Report, which tracks the workforce analytics of one million restaurant employees. The Restaurant Industry Snapshot also includes the Restaurant Industry Willingness to Spend Index from Consumer Edge Research, which is a monthly household survey of more than 2,500 consumers. Consumer Edge Insights is a marketing partner of Black Box Intelligence and People Report.