'17 sales growth awards go to fast casual, fine dining brands
In its latest report, research company Technomic said the 500 chains it recognizes as industry leaders have, for the second straight year, experienced slow sales and unit growth. The company found that last year cumulative sales grew 3.2 percent, down from 3.8 percent in 2016, while net unit growth was at 1.1 percent, down from 1.8 percent the previous year, according to a press release.
Overall, Technomic found last year's 2017 sales growth was led by the limited service category, including QSR and fast casual brands. That category saw sales grow 4.1 percent with fast casual as the leading subsegment, growing 8.9 percent.
Full-service restaurant sales dropped relatively precipitously from 1.4 percent in 2016 to a "barely there" 0.5 percent last year. Yet, the fine dining category is healthy and alive after sales growth of 3.8 percent last year, stated the release.
"Chains today are facing increasingly challenging business conditions, with most publicly-held chains seeing mixed same-store sales results in 2017," Technomic Managing Principal Joe Pawlak said in the release. "Among these challenges lie the rise of retail foodservice and other meal options. Additionally, consumers are becoming accustomed to a stronger deal environment, forcing operators to lessen their margins to stay competitive."