The $1,400 stimulus checks that will be distributed to Americans under a certain income threshold (likely $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households) as part of President Joe Biden’s American Recovery Plan could lift restaurant sales by low-mid single digits for up to seven weeks, an analysis from Bloomberg Intelligence released Wednesday predicts.
In comparison, the study says, the $600 checks last time around boosted restaurant sales by 3% for casual-dining and 5% for quick-service for three weeks. Quick-service stands to see more of a boost than full-service because many customers are still taking advantage of drive-thru, delivery and takeout at this point in the pandemic, with Bloomberg researchers predicting another 5% boost.
Same-store sales for quick-service chains are already on the rise, with chains like McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Burger King, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box seeing a 7.6% same-store sales increase in the first three weeks of 2021 vs. 2.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to MillerPulse data.
Casual-dining chains like Bloomin', Brinker and Darden stand to see another 3% same-store sales gain from the stimulus check boost this time around, as dining room restrictions tamper recovery. Same-store sales at these chains are much more slowly recovering, with MillerPulse reporting a same-store sales drop of about 21.9% in the first three weeks of the year vs. a 25.2% drop in the fourth quarter of 2020 for chains like Applebee’s, BJ’s Restaurants, Cracker Barrel and Denny’s.
According to the latest updates from Bloomberg, the Senate is still debating Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan and voting will likely extend into the weekend of March 5, as the March 14 deadline for the bill approaches.
Also included in the bill will be the $25 billion restaurants relief bill, which is targeted to help small businesses, but not the minimum wage bill, which cannot be included in the finalized version of the bill, according to a ruling from the nonpartisan Senate Parliamentarian.
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