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Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact July 7

Posted by Dave

Happy 4th of July!

Since my last post, we have had Father's Day and the 4th of July, and a whole lot of mis-direction by Governors. Sales and traffic continue to improve week to week, but there is now regular volatility in the numbers. I believe this is an indication we have gotten back the low hanging fruit, and getting higher levels of sales may take a lot longer.

Father's Day had been the best sales day since the pandemic started. Mirus Index shows sales down less than -18% from the same day last year; by far the best to date.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact June 3

Posted by Dave

Memorial Day Hangover?

Memorial Day in 2020 fell on the earliest date it can be according to the calendar. And, given the softening of restrictions on restaurants in the two weeks leading up to the holiday weekend, it is no surprise that Memorial Day was a big hit! Sales jumped over 16% over the previous Monday, but was still down -45% from last year.

You hear how numbers can be lead you to the wrong conclusion if not understood. An example of this is illustrated in the chart above on the day after Memorial Day. The chart shows sales were down -3.42% from the previous Tuesday, but what it doesn't show is that May 26 was the best day for sales compared to last year since the pandemic began. The sales this year were only down -41%, meaning the industry had almost 60% of the sales it had last year. That is good news.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact May 11

Posted by Dave

May 11

Thanks Mom!

Every mother loves Mother's Day; a day for them to be recognized and if they are lucky, pampered.

In this Covid-19 world, it also gave a boost to restaurant sales. Traditionally, Mother's day treats restaurants well, and for some it is one of the busiest days of the year. This year, sales at restaurants increased over 44% from the previous Sunday (May 3). And, it's not like May 3 was a soft day; the sales for that day were almost 10% higher than the previous Sunday.

Total sales volume (not SSS) on Mother's Day was also more than 50% of last year's Mother's Day, a milestone celebrated by many. As an industry we have come a long way from a few weeks ago when aggregate sales were down over 70%. It may take some time for sales to fully recover, but the evidence over the past six weeks shows a steady week by week improvement.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact May 1

Posted by Dave

May 1

Does anyone else sense that time is flying even faster than usual? You may not have this distorted sense of time if you are working from home, or laid off, but it is already May. Some thought at the start of this pandemic that all would be normal at this time. Seems like a silly, optimistic projection today, and we still have no clear picture on how the next several months are going to play out.

For those following this diary, I'd like to say thanks. And, if you have any thoughts or ideas you think would be constructive to our audience, please leave your comments at the bottom of this blog, or email me at dave@mirus.com.

Positive events continue to be revealed. Last week, the sales trend data indicated that we might have hit a bump in the road. Since then, the growth of restaurant sales has continued in a steady fashion. Here is the Mirus Index by Day for the month of April compared to the same day from the Previous Week. Easter is the first thing you might notice. There are two anomalies related to Easter, the week it fell on last year, and the week it fell on this year. The large negative is Easter this year, and the spike is the following Sunday when this year is compared to a weak Easter last year. Keep in mind these are same-store calculations, so a restaurant has to be open this year and last year to be included in these numbers.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the COVID-19 Impact April 20

Posted by Dave

April 24 Diary Entry

For those who have been following my posts and articles, you have heard the news that the sales of the restaurant industry hit their lowest point at the end of March. Since then, sales have been improving slowly on a week-to-week basis. In recent weeks, the Mirus Index has shown an increase in sales on a same-store basis.

Since Easter, the rate of sales increase accelerated to about 16%, that is until a couple of days ago.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurant Industry: A Diary of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact

Posted by Dave

April 13 Diary Entry

The restaurant industry started the year 2020 stronger than any year in more than a decade, although the impact of Covid-19 was already working its way into the numbers. Between March 12 and March 16, city by city, state by state shut down the restaurant dining room. All of the sports leagues also suspended operations. Curbside, takeout, drive-thru and delivery were now the only service channels for restaurants. That is when it hit the fan. Since then, is there any good news?

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Finance, COVID-19 Restaurant Impact

Restaurants: Building Your Own Data Warehouse Is Senseless

Posted by Dave

The restaurant business is complex, much more so than customers would typically believe. We have lived through an explosion of new software tools that help restaurant operators manage this complexity and in the process they have created a new dilemma; understanding it all.

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Topics: Restaurant Data Warehouse, Restaurant IT

Restaurants Celebrate Breakout January Results

Posted by Dave

According to the Mirus Index, January closed with the best sales and traffic performance since 2015. Traffic, in particular, has been an industry problem for most of the last 5 years.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Finance, Restaurant Performance

July Restaurant Sales & Traffic Improve With Data

Posted by Dave

Mirus is happy to report that our clients, as measured by the Mirus Index each day, are outperforming both the industry averages, and the government's numbers in the 3rd quarter.

2019 is a pretty good year, so far. But, according to Black Box Intelligence's latest report on sales and traffic, both were negative for July (-1% and -4%, respectively). Both were also negative, albeit marginally, in June (-0.01% and -3.1%, respectively).

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Finance, Restaurant Performance

What's The Ideal Restaurant Discount?

Posted by Dave

On The Rise

Discounting in restaurants is on the rise, as measured by Mirus Index, and is about 30% higher than a year ago. Examining this trend, it looks like discounting started climbing in 2015 but was up and down until mid-2016. Since then the trend has been a steady increase in discounting, except for the traditional holiday spike in November and December.

Strategic?

The strategy of discounting is often debated among industry experts with some saying it is always a bad idea while others taking a more nuanced position that says discounting can be useful to achieve goals in specific situations.

We had noticed that Average Check has been increasing as well as Discounts. If you overlay the trend for Average Check against the Discount trend, you see that while discounts have gone up about 50% since the start of 2017, so has the Average Check, about 25%. Could the increase in discounts be related to the strategy of increasing prices?

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

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