Restaurant Sales Continue To Show Positive Growth, Despite Slowing Dine-In Traffic

Courtesy of Cracker Barrel.
Courtesy of Cracker Barrel.

The restaurant industry managed to extend its streak of positive sales growth for the 21st consecutive week, despite dine-in sales declining, according to Black Box Financial Intelligence’s latest Restaurant Industry Performance Pulse.

The decrease in dine-in sales, combined with an increase in off-premise sales, is a sign that consumers may be reacting to climbing cases of COVID-19 driven by the delta variant in the U.S., according to the report. For the week ending Aug. 8, while positive sales growth continued, sales and traffic growth trends softened for the fourth consecutive week.

Here’s a look at some of the findings:

  • The fast-casual segment was the only segment to improve sales growth compared to last week.
  • The biggest drop in sales growth, compared to the previous week, was in the fine-dining segment, followed by family dining, which fell further into negative territory.
  • Sales growth dipped in 29 states, and four states posted negative sales—up from one state last week.
  • When looking at just the U.S.’s southern region, which has the largest number of COVID cases per capita, two states—Louisiana and Florida—posted weaker sales trends compared to the previous week.
  • Full-service restaurants tickets, including taxes and tips, were up almost 20% from 2019, in part due to higher menu pricing but also due to fewer smaller orders.
  • Larger tickets of $70 or more were up from two years ago, though orders below $30 were down almost 40%.
  • Large groups are continuing to dine; full-service large party orders increased 32% quarter over quarter. Special occasion mentions have grown threefold from 2019.

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