Report: Restaurant sales hold steady in April

Report: Restaurant sales hold steady in April

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.

Source: Black Box Intelligence, April 2013.

Black Box Intelligence and People Report released The Restaurant Industry Snapshot for April this week, showing a second straight month of positive sales.

Same-store sales rose 0.4 percent in April, approximately equal to the March result. The first week of April included the impact of the Easter Rollover. Easter fell in the first week of April last year, but was included in March results this year.

Same-store traffic results showed a decline of 1.7 percent, equal to the March result.

Consumer Edge Research, a partner company to People Report and Black Box Intelligence, reported that the Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index for April came in at 86, an increase over the score of 81 in March. This result would typically suggest higher sales in the month of May.

"Although sales are still somewhat anemic, it is certainly a step in a good direction to see two straight positive sales months," said Bill Schaffler, president at Black Box Intelligence and People Report. "Additionally, we are encouraged that the consumer indicated they may be turning a bit of a corner as they showed an increased desire to spend their money in restaurants in April. This is encouraging news as we enter May."

Black Box Intelligence
Source: Black Box Intelligence, April 2013.

Additionally, 96 out of 176 DMAs reported posted a positive result in April. The New England region performed the best with a 3.6-percent increase in same-store sales, while Florida was the lowest performing area, with a same-store sales decrease of 2.2 percent.

Black Box Intelligence
Source: Black Box Intelligence, April 2013.

People Report data also reports turnover results by position by segment to their member companies each month. In April, results show an increase in management turnover and a decrease in hourly turnover.

The most recent job growth reported by People Report is an increase of 0.4 percent, slightly lower than last month's number of 0.9 percent. The job growth, although positive, remains slower than reported during most of 2012.

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.

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