Leap year delivers record restaurant sales in February
To quote the late Dinah Washington, “What a difference a day makes.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer wasn’t singing about restaurant sales, but restaurant operators may feel like singing after seeing such strong sales performance last month. Restaurant sales across the nation were significantly higher this February compared to year-over-year (YOY) figures for 2019. The extra day in the month this year is certainly a factor in the large increase in sales. Particularly considering that the extra day happened to be a Saturday, a traditionally high sales performance day of the week.
In the All Avero Index, which evaluates restaurant performance across the nation, we see a 7.6% increase in gross restaurant sales this February. In contrast, January also saw a significant YOY increase in restaurant sales of 4.6%, which pales in comparison to the increase in February. For even more context, in 2018, February's YOY performance in the All Avero Index was 0%.
The biggest beneficiaries of the extra day in February were the top 500 restaurants in the country. Collectively, they were able to manage a 9.8% YOY gross sales increase last month. They also had 6.2% more checks than the previous non-leap year February.
The larger percentage improvement seen among this group isn’t surprising to Avero’s data analysts, considering the strong correlation between sales performance and data-based restaurant operations. The restaurants in this group all meet the criteria for being high-level Avero users.
The top 100 restaurants in New York City also benefited from the extra day in the month coming in at 5.6% higher YOY. Last month we reported that the sales increases seen in the All Avero Index and the National 500 showed higher growth than sales in NYC. The same is true this month. Though sales are up, which is positive for NYC restaurants, it’s clear that the growth is more sluggish than the growth seen in other parts of the country. Could Coronavirus fears be impacting restaurant sales in NYC? Time will tell.
February's restaurant performance in Las Vegas takes the cake. With 9.9% higher sales YOY, it’s safe to say Leap Year was a great success for Las Vegas restaurants. It's interesting to note that in 2018, the YOY increase in restaurant sales in Las Vegas was 3.1%, and in 2017, the increase was 6.4%, making 2019 the strongest February performance in three years.
That’s it for the February Avero Index analysis. Contact us for information about how you can evaluate and improve your restaurant’s YOY sales performance.