The restaurant industry is gaining momentum with reports of positive sales growth for the fourth quarter of 2017. This is the first time the industry has been in the green in almost two years—sales figures haven’t been this good since March 2016.

Increase in Revenue and Job Outlook

The Restaurant Industry Snapshot reported metrics they retrieved from same-store sales data. Same-store sales refer to data compiled by stores that have been in operation for at least a year. Sales figures from the Restaurant Industry Snapshot were based on 30,000 locations and 170 plus brands. Compared to the third quarter of 2017, the restaurant industry saw a 2.6 percentage point surge. For the month of December alone, there was a 0.3 percent increase. The third quarter was considered a particularly rough period for restaurants due to extreme weather conditions. In August, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma caused plummeting sales figures.

Job gains were also reported for the final months of 2017. There was an average increase of 204,000 new jobs created monthly during the fourth quarter. With a demand for more workers, hourly wages in the industry saw a boon. In November, for the third month in a row, there was a lower turnover rate within the sector. Increased turnover rates have been a substantial problem within the restaurant industry for some time now.

Consumer spending during the holidays was one of the attributions to bolstering restaurant sales. With the economy looking good and tax cuts for more workers occurring, the hope amongst industry insiders is for the growth trend to continue. Even with the potential for less foot traffic, higher spending per guest check is anticipated. As part of the sales reporting, the data displayed a higher guest check average for not only fast-casual dining establishments but also fine dining restaurants. In actuality, fine dining and upscale dining establishments were the best performing sector within the industry. Casual dining restaurants had negative sales reports for eight consecutive quarters but reported a turnaround during the fourth quarter of 2017.

2018 Outlook and Beyond

Although the figures show the potential for growth, analysts warn of not becoming overly optimistic with the results of the data. In comparison, December 2017 showed a -2.0 percent decline when compared to data reported from December 2015. Restaurants are reporting a steady decline of foot traffic across the board without any indication that this trend will stop anytime soon. Although the fourth quarter finished strong, overall sales for 2017 was a -1.1 percentage point less than 2016. Traffic was reduced by 3.2 percent for the year.

Reduced sales have been tied to not only less foot traffic but also higher rates of turnover amongst restaurant management personnel. The best performing restaurants have shown a better ability to retain all levels of management. Top industry performers are retaining managers by offering an increased base pay and competitive bonuses. Better employee and manager training have also been tied to top performing establishments.

Despite conflicting results, The Restaurant Industry Network’s reporting gives hope for economic relief to a struggling industry.

Published by Sister wives