Black Box Releases Latest Restaurant Insights

In a special update called "Coronavirus and the Restaurant Industry: What the Date Shows," Black Box Intelligence released several new industry insights, including the results of its operator poll via its Q3 State of the Industry webinar. That survey concludes, according to Black Box, that the environment for restaurants over the next 90 days will continue to be challenging. Two out of every 3 operators and executives said they expect things to get worse for restaurants over the next three months.

Safety is of the utmost concern for restaurant operators. Of the nearly 300 operators polled by Black Box:

  • 96% are requiring masks for all restaurant staff
  • 86% are removing some tables from their restaurants
  • 77% take the temperature of their employees before a shift
  • 71% are requiring gloves for all restaurant staff
  • 57% have implemented plexiglass barriers (most common in limited service brands)

According to its guest trends analysis, Black Box concluded: “Cleanliness is the new ambiance!” The net sentiment for “clean” increased almost 20 points from April to June. “It’s clear that if there is one overarching concern for guests today, it is the need to feel safe,” the report asserted.

In its financial trends, Black Box found comp sales worsened by almost two percentage points for the industry this week.

  • This year the drop in average sales was 9% during the week of July 4th.  That’s a big drop, said Black Box. last two years the week of 4th of July saw drops in average weekly sales dollars per restaurant of about 5% to 6% compared with the average. 
  • Dine-in sales year–over–year growth in full-service restaurants is trending down again in recent weeks while there has been an uptick in off-premise sales growth.
  • Sales for limited-service brands continue to get better as guests shift their spending to more off-premise transactions but full-service segments are on a two-week slump.
  • Quick service achieved its tenth consecutive week of strong positive comp sales growth and posted its second-best week in more than two years based on year–over–year comp sales growth. Fast casual also improved their comp sales growth during week.
  • Comp sales results declined during the week for the casual dining, family dining and upscale casual segments, however, fine dining is the segment that continues to improve the most. “It was the hardest hit by the pandemic during the first few months but has come roaring back since dining room restrictions started to get lifted. It was the second best performing full-service segment based on comp sales for the week ending July 5th, only behind casual dining,” according to the report.

You can read all the insights here.


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