• Full-service restaurants stopped their freefall in September, report says

After perhaps the worst market conditions the restaurant industry has seen in nearly 20 years, full-service restaurants saw some sign of improvement in September, according to Technomic Inc.'s new SalesMetrics report. 
 
In partnership with GuestMetrics, foodservice industry consultant Technomic found that nationally, full-service restaurant performance declined 6.3 percent in September, compared with 12 percent for the month of August, according to its new SalesMetrics report.
 
Interesting findings include:
 
    * Although sales in September were down 6.3 percent nationally, regions varied dramatically, with the Phoenix market showing year-over-year growth of 7.6 percent and the Los Angeles market declining 12.1 percent.
    * Daypart trends indicate that dinner business has seen the largest decrease in usage (-6.8 percent) followed by breakfast (-5.9 percent), and then late night (-5.8 percent). Lunch had the smallest decline (-5.3 percent).
    * Performance trends analyzed by cuisine types varied dramatically, with seafood restaurants posting the smallest decline (-0.5 percent) and steak restaurants declining more significantly (-12.3 percent).
    * In general, guest traffic decreased 6.1 percent in September. Chain restaurants declined by 6.6 percent, with independent restaurants showing only a 5.7 percent decrease.
    * Average check price has decreased 5.5 percent, with chain restaurants declining only 4.4 percent compared with independents, which are down 6.4 percent.
SalesMetrics reports on actual point-of-sales performance of over 2,700 full service independent and chain restaurants nationally, representing over $4.5 billion in annual sales. Data is collected daily directly from the restaurant location using GuestMetrics proprietary software application and aggregated, classified and analyzed using Technomic's proprietary restaurant classification and menu mapping formats.

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