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Avero Index February 2018 - Record Snow in Chicago Hurts Restaurants Through Restaurant Week

Posted by Isa Gomez | March 09, 2018

The Avero Index tracks year-over-year same-store sales performance of restaurants representing different cuisines, venue types, and average checks, nationally and in several specific markets.

February 2018 Highlights

Nationally, restaurants have continued a strong start for 2018. Overall restaurant traffic decreased by 3.1%, but this drop in traffic was outweighed by an increase in average check of 4.3%, helping same-store restaurant gross sales hold on to a strong 1.2% increase over last February’s sales. These sales continue a five-month trend of increased year-over-year sales.

Diners have been particularly interested in heading to restaurants for breakfast, driving breakfast sales up 4.8%, while a decreased interest in dessert has led to a drop in dessert sales of 5.2%. In beverage, bottle wine had its second month as top seller with a huge increase of 19.6%, while beer had its second straight month at the bottom at -13.4%. It seems the boost in Sam Adams sales we reported during the super bowl wasn’t strong enough to beat wine sales.

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With 6.4% increase over last February sales, for a second month in a row, Las Vegas had the strongest performance out of all the cities examined in the Avero Index. It looks like this year’s conference season is off to a strong start, despite previous concerns that conferences would choose new locations after the tragic shooting last October.

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Big spenders seem to be largely driving this improvement in restaurant sales, with restaurants with average check greater than $90 seeing a continued growth of over 10% in the past two months, compared to 2017 sales.

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For the first time in 6 months, Chicago restaurants saw negative same-store sales growth this February compared to last year. The decrease of 4.4% in sales is likely due in large part to the record-breaking 9 consecutive days with measurable snow fall during the first few weeks of the month. This streak of weather, unfortunately, also happened to fall during Chicago restaurant week, a time restaurants usually look to maximize sales.

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In New York City, restaurant sales continue a steady of growth of 1.0% over last February. This push seems largely driven by strong sales in Midtown Manhattan (4.3%), as well as strong weekday sales of 3.0%. Weekend sales saw a drop this month of 2.1%.

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Updated through February 28, 2018

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