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.


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Black Box Intelligence and People Report released the Restaurant Industry Snapshot for June today, reporting flat sales during the month — a disappointment after three straight months of positive sales.  

Same-store sales did not rise or fall in June, compared to an 0.8-percent increase in May and 0.4-percent increase in April. Same-store traffic results declined 2.5 percent, increasing further from the May’s decline of 1.6 percent.

After the relatively strong growth during the first two months of the quarter, June’s flat results contributed to a modest 0.4-percent same-store sales increase during the second quarter of 2013. However, this small growth is still positive news for the industry considering the challenging environment experienced by restaurants during the first quarter, which resulted in a drop of 1.3 percent in same-store sales.

Same-store traffic growth during the second quarter of 2013 continued to be negative. Still, the decline of 2.0 percent in guest counts is considerable improvement over the 3.7-percent decrease reported in the first quarter.

Consumer Edge Research, a partner company to People Report and Black Box Intelligence, also released the Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index with a value of 85 for June, a decrease from the index score of 88 reported in May. Based on historical data gathered through the partnership, a decrease in the index score would typically suggest a slightly lower Black Box Intelligence same-stores sales rate in the month of July compared to June.

“Sales are still weaker than we would like to see, and it was a bit disappointing to observe the moderate deceleration in June after experiencing three straight positive sales months this spring,” said Bill Schaffler, President at Black Box Intelligence and People Report. “On a more positive note, the consumer is indicating a heightened willingness to spend in restaurants as compared to the same month one year ago, but it appears the industry is still operating in a zero- to one-percent sales environment. Nothing has really changed, in our opinion.”

Also in June, the California region performed the best with a 1.8-percent increase in same-store sales. The Mid-Atlantic region was the lowest performing area, with same-store sales falling 2.0 percent. Additionally, 82 out of 177 DMAs posted a positive result in June, down from 104 in May.

People Report also presents turnover results by position by segment to member companies each month. The most recent results show management and hourly turnover increasing 1.9 percent, higher than last month’s 0.4-percent increase.

The Restaurant Industry Snapshot is a compilation of real sales and traffic results from 170+ DMAs from 100+ restaurant brands and approximately 15,000+ restaurants 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.