The Avero Index tracks year-over-year same-store sales performance of restaurants representing different cuisines, venue types, and average checks, nationally and in several specific markets.
March 2018 Highlights
The U.S. restaurant industry finished out the first quarter of 2018 with a third straight month of increased year-over-year (YOY) sales in 2018. Areas impacted by heavy March snowfall however, did not fare as well.
Nation-wide restaurant sales
Nationally, restaurant sales outperformed last year’s March sales by 0.4 % pushed by both increased restaurant traffic, up 1.0%, and increased average check, up 2.5%, for the 13th straight month. The largest increase in gross sales occurred on both the low and high ends of the market. In terms of gross sales, restaurants with average check over $100 saw an increase of 4.7% and restaurants with average check of $25 or lower saw an increase of 4.1%.
In terms of foot-traffic, restaurants in the $50-$75 average check range and those with average checks below $25 both saw the highest increase in traffic of 1.7% this month.
New York City
This March, New York City saw its worst YOY performance since September, with a decrease of 2.1% in gross sales. We can largely attribute this decline to a very cold and snowy March in The Big Apple. The city weathered four nor’easters this March each delivering heavy snowfall closing schools, airports, and many offices. The “four’easter” kept many New York’s diners at home and away from restaurants this month.
Big spenders seem to be largely driving this improvement in restaurant sales, with restaurants with average check greater than $90 seeing a continued growth of over 10% in the past two months, compared to 2017 sales.
These snow storms also hurt Washington D.C.’s restaurant sales this March. Chris Gerkin, Regional Director of Operations for Mastro’s Restaurants, agrees that the cold snowy weather in the Washington D.C. area in March negatively impacted restaurants sales and traffic this quarter.
On the opposite end of the country, the opposite sales trend dominated. Los Angeles saw very strong sales in March with a YOY increase of 13.3%. Hannie Darwazeh, the general manager for Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills, says that they were able to bolster sales this month due to an increase in events in the area that had them renting out their private dining room.
Updated through March 31, 2018
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