This Week In Foodservice

Jerry Stiegler aggregates key industry information and provides brief analysis to help foodservice professionals navigate the data.


Optimism is in the Air for Three Major Foodservice Distributors

Some encouraging data emerges from the quarterly earnings reports of the three major foodservice distributors. Foodservice operators hired 192,000 employees in October. Wendy’s recorded its highest comparable store sales in 15 years and is turning to the drive thru to keep things moving. These stories and a whole lot more This Week in Foodservice.

The Food institute looked at the major foodservice distributors most recent financials and concluded: “There is optimism in the air.” Below is a quick look at the big three broadline distributors quarterly earnings reports. Please keep in mind the comparisons are with each of the distributor’s corresponding quarter in 2019.

Sysco: U.S. sales totaled $7.9 billion, a decline of 25.7% for the quarter ending September 26. Local case volume within the company’s U.S. broadline operations decreased 21.6%. Sysco’s adjusted corporate earnings were $0.34 per share, which exceeded the consensus estimate of $0.25.

Performance Food Group: Total case volume grew 8.9% and net sales increased 12.9% for a total of $7.0 billion. Adjusted diluted earnings per share declined $0.25. Dollar sales and case volume were driven in part by the acquisition of Reinhart Foodservice.

US Foods: Total case volume decreased by 8.9% and net sales decreased 10.5% for a total of $5.8 billion. Adjusted diluted earnings per share was $0.05.

While these have certainly a tough timesfor the foodservice industry it seems the three largest distributors have been able to adjust and survive.

Economics News This Week

  • Initial jobless claims stayed stubbornly high at 751,000, a decline of just 7,000 for the week ending October 31. The 4-week moving average totaled 787,000, a decline of 4,000.
  • S. employment increased by 365,000 jobs from September to October, per ADP’s Employment Report. All sizes of employers shared in the growth with small, medium and large firms each adding more than 100,000 employees. The Leisure and Hospitality sector added 125,000 employees.
  • S. employment rose by 638,000 in October, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell by a full percentage point to 6.9%. Private employment increased by 906,000 but government employment fell by 268,000. One reason for the decline is the Census Bureau releasing temporary workers who had been hire for the 2020 census.
  • New orders for durable manufactured goods increased 1.1% in September, per the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the fifth consecutive month orders have increased.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s Production Manufacturing Index increased 3.9 points for an October reading of 59.3. (Any reading greater than 50 indicates growth.) The New Orders Index totaled 67.9, a 7.7-point increase. The Production Index totaled 63.0, a 2.0-point increase. The Orders Backlog Index increased by 0.5 point. The Employment Index grew by 3.6 points for a reading of 53.2. Of the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed,15 reported growth.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s Services PMI grew in October for the fifth consecutive month. Despite posting a 1.2-point decline, the Services Index totaled 56.6. Any reading greater than 50 indicates expansion so the reading in October means that economic activity in the services sector increased in October but at a decreasing rate from September. The Business Activity/Production Index totaled 61.2, a 1.8-point decline. The New Orders Index totaled 58.8, a 2.7-point decline. The Order Backlog Index increased by 4.3 points for a reading of 54.4.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau estimated private construction spending was up 0.9% in September over August on a seasonally adjusted annual rate. September residential construction spending was up 2.8% over August on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

Foodservice News This Week

  • The foodservice industry added 192,000 jobs in October, per the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on the foodservice was responsible for 1 out of 5 of the new jobs added in the US last month.
  • Wendy’s reported the company’s highest same store sales in 15 years. The 7.0% increase in same was store sales was driven by an increase in breakfast sales but all dayparts were up as well as higher check averages resulting from diner business and digital orders. Wendy’s is also considering a drive-thru only concept. Other quick-service restaurant concepts unveiled similar plans earlier this year.
  • and the Mexican chain intends to meet customers’ expectations. El Pollo believes technology is the key and the chain introduced a GPS-controlled curbside pickup program. The company’s goal is no more than a one-minute wait time after a customer arrives at the restaurant. El Pollo also plans a new drive-thru initiative. The goal here is a 45 second maximum wait. El Pollo Loco will continue to stress drive-thru since this aspect of the chain’s business has grown from 45% of sales to almost 75%.
  • Panera added flatbread pizza to its national menu. The company believes that that consumers prefer to eat at home rather than at a restaurant. Also, pizza could also lift Panera’s delivery and dinner sales.
  • Snap Kitchen will close most of its locations. The combination retail and meal shipment business will close a least 20 of their 33 locations.
  • Uber’s food delivery unit brought in more business than the company’s core ride share service in the last quarter. While COVID-19 kept people out of cars and locked down in their homes, it also upped their appetites for food delivery.
  • Growth Chains: Biggby Coffee opened 17 units in 2019 and opened 16 more in this year. The chain plans to open 88 restaurants in 2021. Qdoba Mexican Eats opened eight locations on college campuses and plans to add at least two more.
  • Comparable Store Sales Reports. Applebee’s down 13.4%, IHOP down 30.2%, Papa John’s Pizza (North American locations up 23.8%, company-owned units up 18.2% and franchised units up 25.6%, Ruth’s Hospitality Group down 21.6% and Wendy’s North America up 7.0%

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