The past few weeks have brought the southern United States two devastating natural disasters, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area sending over 5,000 people to stay in shelters and killing an estimated 82 people. Two weeks after the storm made landfall 3,900 homes and businesses are still without power. Hurricane Irma caused similar devastation in Florida, leaving an estimated 26 people dead and millions without power. While these figures demonstrate the major impacts of the hurricanes, at Avero, we wanted to understand how restaurants fared in the wake of the storm.
Not surprisingly, restaurant sales in both affected areas saw a major decrease in same store sales in the week of the hurricane compared to the previous three weeks. Houston and the surrounding metro area saw a decrease of 49.6% in total restaurant sales while Miami and other Florida regions saw a decrease of 25.0%. The gap between the two regions seems largely due to a much smaller loss in beverage sales in the wake of Irma; however, in both regions happy hour saw the greatest impact to sales in the week of the hurricane as compared to other meal period sales.
While many restaurants were battered by the storm, many in the industry have also shown the values of hospitality with their kindness. Not only have many restaurants in the affected areas opened their doors and kitchens to support the victims, but many chefs from across the country have also come together to show their support. Many of our top Avero customers such as Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Phil Suarez of ABC Kitchen, and Will Guidara and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park have all come together as a part of Hospitality for Houston to contribute to recovery efforts in Houston. Four Seasons Hotel Houston has also shown their support by matching proceeds of dinner sales and by personally delivering meals to displaced Houston residents.
We have 200 dinners on their way to Conroe, TX to help residents who have been displaced from their homes. Thank you to Chef Marcos and our incredible kitchen staff for making it happen! #TEXASstrong
A post shared by Four Seasons Hotel Houston (@fshotelhouston) on Sep 18, 2017 at 1:55pm PDT.
Some of our local customers in the affected areas are also showing their support such as Mr. Chow in Miami, donating a portion of sales from a specialty drink to support efforts. While the hurricanes crippled restaurant sales in the Houston and Florida areas, we love to see how the members of the hospitality industry can come together to offer their aid.
To learn more about trends in restaurants sales, check out the Avero Index.