August Restaurant Sales and Employment Trends

Black Box Sales, Traffic

Black Box released same-restaurant sales and traffic estimates for the month of August that showed slight improvement sequentially, although still down YoY. Same-restaurant sales grew to +1.7% up 10bps sequentially, but down 40bps YoY and same-restaurant traffic decreased -1.1%, a 10bps sequential improvement, and down 60 bps YoY.

August Restaurant Sales and Employment Trends - CHART 1

August Restaurant Sales and Employment Trends - CHART 2

Restaurant price increases are continuing to taper off, after the nearly 12-months of increases. Not surprisingly, after the last three months of flat to down pricing, traffic is continuing to accelerate month over month.  As you can see from the chart below, the divergence between the operators taking price and a decline in traffic is reversing and it looks like they are headed to cross again. In August there was a continuation of the uptick in traffic we saw in July, although slightly less of a sequential improvement.

August Restaurant Sales and Employment Trends - CHART 3

Knapp August Sales Trends

Knapp reported that comparable restaurant sales in August 2015 were +0.9% for same-store sales and -1.0% for guest counts.  August comparable restaurant sales represent a sequential acceleration of +50bps, additionally traffic sequentially is up 30bps for the month.  On a 2-year basis, sales accelerated to +0.8% and traffic decelerated at a slower pace, down -1.5%. 

Employment Growth Slowing

In the month of August we saw a marked improvement in the employment trend, driven by growth within the 20-24 YOA cohort. The downward trend that we were concerned about seems to have reversed; continued growth among younger workers is encouraging for the quick service segment. The losses among the 45-54 YOA cohort continued in this month, down -0.43% YoY and -24bps sequentially.

August Employment Growth Data:

  • 20-24 YOA +3.1% YoY; +245.2 bps sequentially
  • 25-34 YOA +2.35% YoY; +4.3 bps sequentially
  • 35-44 YOA +1.26% YoY; -3.6 bps sequentially
  • 45-54 YOA -0.43% YoY; -23.9bps sequentially
  • 55-64 YOA +1.57% YoY; -95.1bps sequentially

August Restaurant Sales and Employment Trends - CHART 4

 

Please call or e-mail with any questions.

Howard Penney

Managing Director

Shayne Laidlaw

Analyst