The US restaurant industry endured another strong month of same-store sales in January at 2% growth for the second month in a row.
These results have been the best two months based on sales growth for the industry in over two years, according to data from TDn2K..
Overall restaurant traffic still continues to post negative, however, there have been signs of relative improvement in the last two months.
Though most regions of the country experienced positive same-store sales growth during the month, the four regions that had flat or declining sales year over year were among the most impacted by severe winter storms.
The worst performing region based on same-store sales growth during January was the Midwest with -0.5% sales growth.
Of the 196 DMAs tracked by Black Box Intelligence, 73% achieved positive sales growth during the month.
But even though national sales growth was the same in December, January saw a decline in markets with positive sales growth. The percentage of positive DMAs was 84% for the previous month.
Alongside this, an ongoing concern for restaurant operators has been finding enough qualified workers and keeping them once employed.
According to TDn2K’s People Report, restaurant job growth 2.4% year-on-year during December, a small uptick from November’s job growth of 2.2%.
This growing employee need is problematic as in addition to new jobs needing to be filled, restaurant operators continue to struggle with employee retention.
Turnover for hourly employees and restaurant managers rose again in December, with management turnover hitting a new high.
This, in turn, has undoubtedly led to higher hourly turnover, poor employee engagement within the restaurants and unfulfilled service standards for many restaurant brands.