September Casual Dining Trends – Plain Ugly

Casual dining same-store sales declined 3.8% in September with traffic falling 6.5%. The casual dining industry has not experienced a traffic decline of this magnitude going back to 2000, and now this is the third consecutive month of 6%-plus declines. Looking at the chart below, I think Burt Vivian, president of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, described it best yesterday, “In short, July and August were not pretty. September was just plain ugly.”