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Our SalesTrack Weekly monthly rollups, which monitors the same-store sales of 100,000 leading restaurants, were just published. I was struck by the steady, if unimpressive, increase in the growth rate in the restaurant industry’s same store sales we’ve seen in the past six months. It is a classic stair step with each month slightly better than the previous month. Sure, the numbers are not as strong as they were last year but, hey, they were REALLY strong last year.
Now, I’m sure there are parts of the industry that aren’t doing well. But you have to remember that SalesTrack comprises 50 chains that account for 17% of all the restaurant locations in the US and a little more than a quarter of all the sales in the US industry. It captures big and small and fast and slow players all together. It documents a steady, if troublesomely slow, increase in the rate of growth month to month.
And, the folks who subscribe to our Food Safety Monitor might have been expecting this. Since this past summer, except for a blip during the government shutdown (BTW, you can all thank our retail industry analyst, Marshal Cohen for calling the government to task since the shutdown ended just hours after his withering blog entry was posted. Who knows how long it might have gone on?…where was I…RIGHT!) , the percent of consumers saying they were going to go to either fast food or full service restaurants LESS has gone steadily down (a good thing). This gives us hope for the next few months.