Black Box Intelligence and People Report released the Restaurant Industry Snapshot for February, finding the cold winter month resulted in negative same-store sales – marking the third consecutive month of declines for the key metric.
Same-store sales growth in restaurants was -0.7 percent during February, which is a small 0.2 percent improvement from the -0.9 percent rate reported for January. Declining same-store guest counts continue to be the main problem for restaurants. February posted same-store traffic growth of -3.2 percent, the second worst growth rate in the last 12 months. Although same-store sales improved slightly over January, traffic actually worsened by 1.0 percent on a same-store basis.
"As has been the case with the previous three months, weather has been the key factor driving down sales for the restaurant industry," said Victor Fernandez, executive director of Insights and Knowledge for TDn2K, parent company of Black Box Intelligence and People Report. "However, the results for February and the slight improvement from January are deceiving. The reality is February of last year was a horrible month for the industry as a perfect storm of rising payroll taxes, political uncertainty and bad weather hit the country and drove same-store sales to almost -5.0 percent for the month, the worst results since the period immediately after the end of the recession in 2009. Under that perspective, the -0.7 percent posted by the industry in February 2014 is very concerning when analyzed on a two-year basis."