Black Box Intelligence Credits Recent Growth to Pent Up Demand

The growth in restaurant sales has slowed in recent weeks, but remains positive, according to the latest Restaurant Industry Performance Pulse from Black Box Intelligence, a data and insights provider for the hospitality industry.

The week ending May 23 represented 10 consecutive weeks of positive same-store sales growth. Average guest checks are growing at a rapid pace, both year-over-year and compared to two years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest jump in average guest check has occurred in the quick service and fast casual segments, while casual dining saw the smallest growth.

Although it was among the hardest-hit segments during the pandemic, fine dining has been the top-performing segment based on two-year same-store sales growth for the past two weeks. It is also the only segment that has grown dine-in business in recent weeks. Black Box Intelligence attributed this growth to pent-up demand for experience-based dining along with graduation celebrations.

While the industry continues to trend upward, its struggles with employee retention remain. Black Box Intelligence reported that regional factors such as minimum wage and unemployment rates are contributing to substantial differences in employee retention in different regions and states. The states with the highest full-service employee turnover during Q1/21 were Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Conversely, the states with the lowest turnover rates for full-service restaurant employees were Hawaii, Nevada, Connecticut, Maine, West Virginia, Washington and California.

To read the full Restaurant Industry Performance Pulse, please click here.