Full- and Limited-Service Restaurants Continue Struggles

Restaurant sales recovery has completely plateaued over the last four weeks as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States, according to a report from Black Box Intelligence, a data and insights provider of workforce, guest, consumer, and financial performance benchmarks for the hospitality industry.

Traffic decline was the worst the industry has seen since the week ending June 14, Black Box reported. Comp sales growth year-over-year for the industry was 1.1 percentage points worse during the week compared to the performance for the previous week. Results were flat compared to the performance reported for the week ending July 5.

Quick-service restaurants (QSR) have been the only segment of the industry to report 12 consecutive weeks of positive sales growth, while full-service restaurants open for dine-in has declined. According to Black Box Intelligence, a larger percent of limited-service brands has remained closed for dine-in. Since off-premise dining are typically a much larger percentage of their sales, pandemic or not, operating only off-premise is a much more viable option for QSRs. The percentage of limited-service restaurants offering dine-in service dropped by 10 percentage points, which Black Box notes is the largest decrease since the last week of June.

Despite losing significant ground at the beginning of the pandemic to grocery sales, restaurants have made progress regaining the share of food spend lost. Although limited-service restaurants’ share of all food spend is almost pre-pandemic levels, share for full-service restaurants is only slightly above half of what it was in the pre-pandemic period, Black Box Intelligence noted.

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