Blackbox April sales negative: TDn2K

Easter holiday shift impacts April, March sales

According to Blackbox Intelligence from TDn2K, an analytics and data provider, same store sales growth in April was negative for the second time in three months. Blackbox April sales reflected a decline of 0.4 percent (February same store sales declined by 0.6 percent year over year.) The decline in April was partially attributable to the shift in the Easter holiday. This was in stark contrast to March, in which same store sales increased by 1.2 percent. (In this case, Easter’s move from (fiscal) March of last year to April of this year favorably impacted March sales.)

Regarding Blackbox April sales, TDn2K suggests there’s no need to sound the alarm just yet, as a full reverse trend of last year hasn’t yet developed. Also, restaurants have engendered positive sentiment from customers. Restaurants that were tracked by White Box Social Intelligence showed positive online mentions in over 50 percent of these on social media.

Despite Blackbox April sales index, leading performance indicators positive

What’s more, restaurants that were in the top quartile of same stores growth in Q1 2019 had “guest intent to return” scores that were 10 percent higher than those in the lowest quartile.

All of these adjunct indicators show that restaurants may be on the right track and that outside influences have had an impact on sales growth. Additionally, top-performing chains in leading operational indicators are able to raise prices, notes TDn2K. This furthers their ability to increase sales, compared to other chains. These are the restaurant chains tracked that showed the highest guest intent to return scores:

  • Fish City Grill
  • The Capital Grille
  • Ninety-Nine Restaurants & Pub
  • Eddie V’s
  • Ocean Prime

Here are the top brands ranked by food performance:

  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V’s
  • Seasons 52
  • Fish City Grill
  • Ted’s Montana Grill

These brands posted the highest services scores:

  • The Capital Grille
  • Truluck’s
  • Eddie V’s
  • Village Tavern
  • Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Performance by region

Four out of the six top performance indicators were earned from Florida demographic market areas, including Orlando and Tampa. Philadelphia posted best intent to return and value scores. Florida, the Western U.S. and the Mountain Plains made the list of best-performing regions in guest satisfaction. These regions posted scores of 63.9 percent, 60.7 percent and 59.6 percent, respectively.

In contrast, the Southeast, NY-NJ and New England regions ranked the worst in guest satisfaction, according to TDn2K. These regions posted scores of 55.6 percent, 53.4 percent and 53.2 percent, respectively.

Overall, food performance improved the most on rolling 3-month basis, posting a 3.9 percent growth compared to last year, while service increased 1.8 percent. Furthermore, intent to return scores showed the least improvement, ticking up 0.9 percent. To read TDn2K’s full analysis, navigate to its website.

Photo credit: Tom Grimbert

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