Restaurant sales growth rebounds, posting best month since March

Growth is likely due to an increase in consumer confidence, Black Box Intelligence reports


Black Box Intelligence

via Nation's Restaurant News - Sep 16, 2022


How did the restaurant industry perform in August 2022? Restaurant sales and traffic growth rebounded last month thanks in large part to an increase in consumer confidence. The Consumer Confidence Index reported an uptick in August, following three consecutive monthly declines. A drop in gas prices combined with a more positive short-term outlook for income, business, and the labor market were all contributing factors. The improvement in confidence may also support overall spending habits in the near future. However, confidence will be offset by additional rate hikes and inflation (even with easing).


All growth numbers are year-over-year unless specified. Best and worst performing region, segment and cuisine is based on same-store sales growth.


Restaurant same-store sales growth was +5.3% for August — the strongest same-store sales growth since March and a significant increase of 4.6 percentage points over July 2022’s growth rate. Black Box Intelligence has been reporting a consistent decline in same-store sales growth, culminating in July with sales only growing by +0.7% — the lowest in over a year. To further put this month’s rebound into context, March 2022 posted stronger year-over-year sales and traffic growth numbers because the industry was still lapping over months that were impacted by the pandemic.


Same-store traffic growth for the restaurant industry was -1.9% in August. Although this represents a strong 3.2 percentage point rebound from July’s numbers, the sobering fact remains that it is the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in guest count. This month’s strong sales numbers and weak guest counts demonstrate exactly what happens when larger check growth (due to large price increases that passed onto consumers) is the primary reason for higher sales.


August’s upturn in sales was widespread throughout the industry, with all segments experiencing an improvement in year-over-year same-store sales growth. Reporting the biggest acceleration in sales were the full-service segments. The segment with the largest growth was fine-dining, followed by upscale casual, and then casual dining.


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