Editor's note: This exclusive series to Nation’s Restaurant News provides C-level insights 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.
Black Box Intelligence and People Report released The Restaurant Industry Snapshot for January this week, showing a positive result for the first month of the new year. However, restaurant consumers indicated a slight pullback from December as reported through the Consumer Willingness to Spend Index from Consumer Edge.
Same-store sales rose 0.4 percent in January, an improvement over a decline of 1.1 percent in December. Same-store sales increased 5.8 percent the first week of January and dropped 1.4 percent the last three weeks of the month, ending on Sunday, Jan. 27.
Traffic declined 3.1 percent, reflecting a 0.6-percent improvement over December.
The results seen in the first week of the year were influenced by the mismatch of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Calculations done by Black Box Intelligence and People Report estimate the impact of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day falling into 2013 at a negative impact to the month of December of approximately 1.0 percent, which in turn benefitted the month of January by approximately 1.0 percent.
In January, the New York/New Jersey area showed the best performance out of the regions in the U.S. with a 3.8-percent same-store sales increase. The Southeast region was the lowest-performing area, with a same-store sales decrease of 3.3 percent.
People Report data shows a mix of turnover results as of the most recent month. In December, results show management turnover on the decline while hourly turnover increased. The most recent job growth reported by People Report is 0.7 percent, a decrease from November’s growth of 2.1 percent.
The split of positive to negative DMAs in January was 44 percent positive and 56 percent negative. This is an improvement from December results.
Consumer Edge Research, a partner company to People Report and Black Box Intelligence, released the January Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index this week as well. The results show a drop from 91 in December, which was the highest value the index had seen in all of 2012, to 83 in January.
“We may already be seeing the impact of payroll tax increases on our customer’s wallet, and the surveys done by our partners at Consumer Edge Research in January indicate that as well,” said Bill Schaffler, president at Black Box Intelligence and People Report.
The Restaurant Industry Snapshot is a compilation of real sales and traffic results from 185 DMAs from over 100 distinct restaurant brands and approximately 14,000 restaurant units that are clients of Black Box Intelligence. 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 one million restaurant employees on workforce analytics. 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 with Black Box Intelligence and People Report.