This Week In Foodservice

The editorial team aggregates key industry information and provides brief analysis to help foodservice professionals navigate the data.


January Foodservice Sales Were up, Grocery Store Prices Fall Behind, QSRs See Uptick in Consumer Traffic

Total U.S. retail sales increased 0.3 percent in January from December according to the Census Bureau’s advance estimate. And, January sales were up 4.4 percent over January 2019. Total sales for the last 3 months (November, December and January) are up 4.4 percent. The advance estimate of 0.3 percent from November to December 2019 was unchanged in this month’s report.

Foodservices and drinking places sales increased 1.2 percent in January from December. January sales this year are up 7.4 percent over January 2019. The Bureau revised Foodservice sales December up significantly. In the original advance report, restaurant and bar sales were projected to grow at a rate of 0.2 percent. In the latest report, they were increased to 1.2 percent

While the 0.3 percent rise in total retail sales is not huge growth, it is the biggest increase since October. Foodservices and drinking place sales increase of 1.2 percent is a good rise assuming that it holds up after a larger sample is analyzed.

Please bear in mind there are some limitations and cautions when using this data. First, the Census Bureau’s advance report is based on a limited sample and may be revised with the receipt of a broader sample. Second, the survey covers only restaurants and bars. Not included are hotels, resorts, clubs, employee feeding, schools, colleges, healthcare and military. Finally, some but not all the statistics are adjusted for seasonal variations, holidays, and weekends but none for menu price changes.


Economic News This Week

Foodservice News This Week

  • Consumer prices for food increased 0.2 percent in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the last 12 months food prices are up 1.8 percent. In a pattern that has grown very familiar, though, prices for food at home were up 0.1 percent in January and up 0.7 percent for the 12 months ending in January. On the other hand, prices for food away from home went up 0.4 percent in January and are up 3.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in January. 
  • Consumer restaurant transactions increased in January, per the NPD Group. The increase was due to better weather this year compared below average temperatures and above average precipitation in January of 2019. Total restaurant transactions were up 2.0 percent compared to January 2019. NPD attributes the gains to customer traffic increases at quick-service chains. The number of customer transactions at full-service restaurants, casual dining restaurants and mid-scale/family dining restaurants all experienced declines in customer tractions.
  • The Airport Hospitality Group OTG and Starbucks formed a partnership that will feature experimental concepts and innovative technology. One project is to develop a Starbucks mobile platform that moves through the airport depending on the time of day.
  • Growth Chains: Chicken Salad Chick plans to add 60 units during the next several years thanks to 26 franchise agreements.
  • Comparable Store Sales: Brinker International (Chili’s company-owned restaurants up 2.0 percent, U.S. franchised locations up 0.2 percent ; 7 Maggiano’s down 1.4 percent), Denny’s (systemwide domestic locations up 1.7 percent, company-owned units up 0.5 percent and franchised locations up 1.8 percent), Luby’s (Luby’s Cafeteria up 1.7 percent, Fuddrucker’s down 11.2 percent, Cheeseburger in Paradise down 0.6 percent) and Rave Restaurant Group (Pie Five Pizza down 11.0 percent and Pizza Inn up 2.4 percent.).

For Details and same sales of other chains, Please Click Here for the latest Green Sheet.