Restaurant sales show little sign of slowing

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Restaurant sales have been increasing for nearly three months and showing no signs of stopping, at least according to the latest update from Black Box Intelligence.

The restaurant information company said comparable store sales accelerated last week and increased for 11 straight weeks. Sales for the week ending May 30 were the index’s best results in six weeks, suggesting the industry’s post-pandemic sales boom has yet to subside.

Other indications from Black Box suggest a return to normal in some regions while other regions continue some of their pandemic trends.

On the one hand, consumers continue to come less often and place larger orders when they do, suggesting that people continue to buy take-out for families and groups and dine on their own less. . The average check is increasing at an accelerated rate compared to each of the past two years.

The number of guests, on the other hand, remains on the decline.

But check growth was weaker in fast food and fast food concepts, according to Black Box, perhaps suggesting that consumers are returning to a more normal state with such chains. In the days leading up to the pandemic, limited-service concepts relied more on solo diners grabbing food on the way to work or during lunch.

More Americans are returning to the office – less than 17% of Americans currently work from home, about half as many as a year ago.

“The average check is up quite a substantial level,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told investors last week, also according to a transcript on financial services site Sentieo. “We don’t expect this to continue at the same levels. I think over time you will see the average check go down. This will have the other benefit, as you will start to see traffic start to pick up in the drive-thru. “

The growth in take-out and delivery sales remains “historically high” for limited-service brands. And they remain “extremely high” for full-service concepts, according to Black Box, but that growth rate has been steadily declining since mid-March. This suggests that consumers are cutting back on spending on their casual take-out meal as they start to eat more often.

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