Where Do Local Restaurants Stand in 2019? | Food Newsfeed
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Restaurants have to deliver every day to inspire frequency.

Where Do Local Restaurants Stand in 2019?

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How much are guests spending? And when?
By Danny Klein June 2019 Finance

The independent restaurant scene is always in flux. According to CHD Expert, the segment represents 68 percent of the total U.S. dining landscape. As of October 2017, there were more than 489,900 total independent units (defined as a establishment with fewer than 10 units by this study).

In August 2018, The NPD Group reported a 2 percent drop in independent restaurants. Looking at the sector as single-unit stores, there were 352,815 in the spring of 2018—down 5,719 from the previous year.

Even with the decline, independent restaurants units represented more than half of all U.S. commercial restaurants. Independent commercial operators were forecasted to spend $43 billion with foodservice manufacturers in 2020, a 3.4 percent compounded annual growth rate over 2018. It will comprise 15 percent of total restaurant operator spend, per NPD's Foodservice Future Views. In the year ending June 2018, cases shipped from broadline foodservice distributors to independents increased 4 percent.

So what this all tells us is that independents remain far and away the biggest slice of the full-service piece. But the declining numbers reflect sluggish traffic and the resources and capital needed to withstand tougher times. That's an area single-unit operators have less room for error than established chains. Headwinds like minimum wage hikes, legislation, and healthcare, can challenge razor-thin margins to near-impossible levels. The brands able to absorb or offset rising costs will be in a better position to compete.

Reputation management platform Womply took a look at the state of local restaurants in a recent report shared with FSR. To project sales patters in 2019, the company analyzed transactions for every day of the 2018 calendar year at 42,223 small, local restaurants across the U.S.

What it shows is when local restaurants do the most business, when they seat the most guests, and how 2019 might compare. There is always bottom-line value in predictive analysis, whenever possible.

Womply looked at transactions (how many individual payments a restaurant processes on a given day), ticket size (how much patrons spend on average per transaction on a given day), and daily sales revenue (how much revenue a restaurant makes on a given day).

The high-level results

On a typical day, local restaurants in America brought in $1,273 in revenue last year. The average restaurant also processed about 45 transactions each day while customers spent an average of $28.38 per ticket.

Let's look at this state-by-state:

StateDaily
Sales
Revenue
Sales
Revenue
vs.
National
Ticket
Size
Ticket
Size
vs.
National
Average
Transactions
Transactions
vs.
National
Alaska$1,451.0014%$28.17-1%5216%
Alabama$1,120.00-12%$24.60-13%462%
Arkansas$903.00-29%$23.94-16%38-16%
Arizona$1,370.008%$25.58-10%5420%
California$1,601.0026%$30.949%5216%
Colorado$1,380.008%$29.564%474%
Connecticut$1,174.00-8%$31.4011%37-18%
Delaware$981.00-23%$26.86-5%37-18%
Florida$1,553.0022%$30.006%5216%
Georgia$1,494.0017%$26.57-6%5624%
Hawaii$1,454.0014%$33.9620%43-4%
Iowa$984.00-23%$24.92-12%39-13%
Idaho$946.00-26%$25.35-11%37-18%
Illinois$1,176.00-8%$28.912%41-9%
Indiana$965.00-24%$24.39-14%40-11%
Kansas$811.00-36%$25.15-11%32-29%
Kentucky$1,085.00-15%$22.68-20%487%
Louisiana$1,331.005%$26.83-5%5011%
Massachusetts$1,585.0025%$31.7912%5011%
Maryland$1,510.0019%$31.1810%487%
Maine$1,083.00-15%$28.561%38-16%
Michigan$1,010.00-21%$25.90-9%39-13%
Minnesota$1,370.008%$28.370%487%
Missouri$1,079.00-15%$28.04-1%38-16%
Mississippi$708.00-44%$23.78-16%30-33%
Montana$1,070.00-16%$31.5211%34-24%
NC$1,546.0022%$24.61-13%6340%
North Dakota$1,002.00-21%$29.444%34-24%
Nebraska$1,023.00-20%$22.67-20%450%
N. Hampshire$1,237.00-3%$30.568%41-9%
New Jersey$1,341.005%$34.4821%39-13%
New Mexico$1,059.00-17%$26.04-8%41-9%
Nevada$1,138.00-11%$28.22-1%40-11%
New York$1,280.001%$33.1617%39-13%
Ohio$858.00-33%$24.84-12%34-24%
Oklahoma$804.00-37%$25.26-11%32-29%
Oregon$1,335.005%$27.75-2%487%
Pennsylvania$954.00-25%$28.751%33-27%
Rhode Island$1,883.0048%$35.6826%5216%
S. Carolina$1,494.0017%$28.310%5318%
South Dakota$871.00-32%$30.909%28-38%
Tennessee$1,164.00-8%$24.82-13%474%
Texas$1,204.00-5%$25.59-10%474%
Utah$1,187.00-7%$20.97-26%5727%
Virginia$1,250.00-2%$27.33-4%462%
Vermont$1,731.0036%$38.2235%450%
Washington$1,431.0013%$28.581%5011%
Wisconsin$837.00-34%$30.487%27-40%
West Virginia$843.00-34%$21.74-23%39-13%
Wyoming$863.00-32%$33.2317%26-42%

Womply's data found, understandably, that a combined total of 54 percent of all restaurant revenue arrived between Friday and Sunday. Diving deeper, customers showed up more on Friday but spent a little more on Saturdays and Sundays.

Average number of transactions:

  • Monday: 38
  • Tuesday: 39
  • Wednesday: 40
  • Thursday: 43
  • Friday: 54
  • Saturday: 52
  • Sunday: 48

Average ticket amount:

  • Monday: $25.17
  • Tuesday: $24.85
  • Wednesday: $25.74
  • Thursday: $26.19
  • Friday: $29.08
  • Saturday: $32.87
  • Sunday: $32.36

How much does the average restaurant make?

This turned out to be a pretty stable metric month by month. It slowed down a bit in January to 40 average transactions per restaurant but then settled into a consistent pattern. Average purchase prices also remained steady.

Share of monthly revenue:

  • January: 7 percent
  • February: 7 percent
  • March: 9 percent
  • April: 8 percent
  • May:  9 percent
  • June: 9 percent
  • July: 9 percent
  • August: 9 percent
  • September: 8 percent
  • October: 8 percent
  • November: 8 percent
  • December: 8 percent

"Nationally, the report revealed highly consistent sales patterns for local restaurants, with very little seasonality. In general, revenue as a percentage of annual sales doesn't change much from month to month, and the average weekend is bigger than most prominent holidays," says Brad Plothow, VP of brand communications with Womply. "However, we also uncovered many counterintuitive findings, such as St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo bringing in far more sales for the average local restaurant than Valentine's Day. Consumer spending often defies conventional wisdom, and we want to share these insights to help restaurateurs better understand their customers and run more profitable businesses."

Get the deals ready

Let's examine which days saw the biggest spikes. The No. 1 revenue day in 17 states fell on Mother's Day weekend last year, and 33 out of 50 states saw Mother's Day weekend crack at least one of their top five days.

Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day were also huge. Cinco de Mayo topped the charts in six states and was in the top five of 28 others. St. Patrick's Day was No. 1 in four states and top five in 13.

Here's a look at how holidays compared to average days, from Womply.

Womply

This data shows provides a lot of learning points. Operators should be keyed into events and special days that promise barrages of traffic. It would also be wise to be ready with a promotion, shared via social, email, or whatever pathway works best to reach guests, in an effort to court the occasions. And to be prepared operationally when the lights are brightest (staffing, etc). However, day-to-day service and weekend business will always serve as the lifeblood for any restaurant. As the stable, yearlong results show, operators must consistently deliver throughout the calendar to inspire frequency. A guest who shows up every Tuesday will likely come when their favorite holiday rolls around.