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In restaurant guest sentiment, ‘safety’ is trending: Black Box Intelligence

More than three in four operators conduct employee temperature checks

Safety continues to be top of mind for many consumers and cleanliness is factoring into net restaurant guest sentiment. At the same time, restaurant operators are responding to the need for safety. According to a July 17 report from Black Box, a data-analytics firm, 96 percent of all restaurant operators are requiring masks of staff. A total of 86 percent have removed some tables from restaurants. And more than 3 out of 4 (77 percent) take the temperature of all employees prior to the start of their shift.

Furthermore, 71 percent of restaurant operators require restaurant employees wear gloves, while 57 percent of operators have installed plexiglass barriers. Reinforcing the importance of these measures, net sentiment for “clean” increased nearly 20 percent from April to June. Sentiment also increased around “food” and “service.” from May,, and now shows growth on a year-to-year basis.

Within the categories of food, service and intent to return, all but the latter were showing positive trends in the month of June. Net sentiment around food is up 4 percent from last year and service is up 4.1 percent. Intent to return, however, is down 9.5 percent but gradually improving. All three metrics are down versus last year on a three-month rolling basis: (5.2), (8.8) and (8.3) percent respectively, due to the poor pre-June results.

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Restaurants posted a 18.74-percent decrease from last year in comp(arable) sales in June, which was the best month since February. Comp traffic in June was down 23.94 percent. During the week that included July 4th, restaurants lost ground. Typically, restaurants are off their average in comp sales by four- to six-percent points. This year, they were off by 9 percent. Most recently, full-service restaurants have experienced a decrease in sales while off-premises sales have seen an increase.

Photo credit: Dewi Ika Putri (featured preview image)

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