Customer Traffic Improves, But Remains Down Year-Over-Year

Restaurant sales continue to grow year-over-year, even as customer traffic declines, according to the latest Restaurant Performance Pulse report from Black Box Intelligence, a data and insights provider for the hospitality industry.

The sales increase for the week ending May 29 was attributed to increases in average spend per guest or transaction. Dine-in sales are up across the board, with nearly all segments posting positive growth over the past few months. The only exception is quick service, which has experienced occasional weeks of negative year-over-year dine-in growth.

The top-performing regions for the week were New England, Florida, California, and the West. The regions with the softest sales growth were New York-New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southwest, and the Midwest. Of those, only the New York-New Jersey region had negative sales growth.

The industry’s outlook is a lot more mixed when it comes to customer traffic. Year-over-year restaurant traffic has been negative for the past 12 weeks, Black Box noted, but it improved during the week ending May 29. The only segments that experienced positive year-over-year traffic growth were upscale casual and fine dining – which were also two of the top three segments for sales growth, the other being quick service.