While the restaurant industry saw its market share fall in December, there are many reasons for these issues, including severe weather and problems with the winter shopping season caused by a late Thanksgiving holiday.
The latest Restaurant Industry Snapshot for 2013, published by Black Box Intelligence and People Report, saw December experience a drop in same-store sales of 2 percent, which reversed a 2.8 percent drop from November's growth rate.
However, there are plenty of catalysts that caused these results, including the late Thanksgiving holiday being counted in December sales. This holiday is normally considered a November shopping day, but as it was compared to a normal Thursday in December this year, the result harmed many restaurants' business.In addition, the holiday shopping season was a week shorter than traditional ones are, and winter storms throughout the month further harmed restaurant sales.
Same-store sales and annual same-store sales both experienced slight downturns during the month, but industry experts were quick to point out that fast casual and family dining segments of the market saw positive same-store sales during that same time. This was the first time that negative sales have been seen in three years, though consumer confidence is on the rise depending on weather trends early in 2014.
State of the industry for 2014
Nation's Restaurant News reports that 2014 will see demand for proper performances and results. Many companies, however, will be able to see better growth than they did in 2013, with hopes for less bad weather and recovery from payroll tax changes that were implemented last year.
The market is expected to hinge on affordable and valuable dining opportunities, according to the news source, with casual dining and quick service restaurants primarily hoped to experience growth.
On the bright side, equipment like table-top tablets are expected to stimulate the market, helping to mitigate labor and payment costs and improve operational efficiency.
Fast-casual restaurants, in particular, will likely be the strongest aspect of this year's market, with pizza being the most popular dining option. Real estate accessibility will also be a key concern as more and more restaurants enter the market. One way that they will increase competition will be in tiered value menus, which have different levels of accessibility for various levels of quality.
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