Restaurant Comps Remain Steady In March: Operators Expect Strong April

Quick-service brands show the most sales strength, while full-service brands are the most optimistic in the latest MillerPulse restaurant survey.

Restaurant industry same-store sales in March remained consistent with gains posted in February, but operator outlook improved to its highest level as restaurant operators expect a strong April, according to the latest NRN-MillerPulse survey.

Industry same-store sales increased 4.2 percent in March, compared with the near-identical 4.3-percent gain reported in February, the survey found. Quick-service restaurants, which include both fast-casual and fast-food brands, continued to drive positive sales trends, hitting an all-time high for the survey with a 6.9-percent increase, compared with the previous record of 6 percent set the month prior.

MillerPulse, an operator survey exclusive to Nation’s Restaurant News, included respondents from 64 restaurant operators in April regarding March sales, profit trends, performance and outlooks. Respondents included operators from all regions of the country that represent the quick-service, casual-dining, fine-dining and fast-casual segments. Those surveyed in April represented restaurants that booked about 5 percent of industry sales.

Full-service restaurants, which include both casual-dining and fine-dining brands, decreased since February but still remained positive. The segment reported a 1.2-percent gain in same-store sales in March versus a 2.3-percent gain in February. Fine-dining brands posted the most significant increase in sales, with 5.6 percent, compared with the modest 0.4-percent gain from casual-dining brands. Read More

Posted on April 19, 2012 and filed under Best Practices.