Restaurant industry comp sales decline by only 8.1 percent during September: Black Box

Improvement, however, is slowing compared to most recent trend

Black Box Intelligence reported September industry comp(arable) sales were down just 8.1 percent from last year. Restaurants continue to recover, improving 4.1 percentage-points from where they were in August. Amid the COVID-19 health crisis, the average of comp sales decline for the last three months has been 3.7 percentage-points. Comp restaurant traffic dropped 14.6 percent.

As the month ended, the last week was only 0.2 percentage points better than the previous two-week average. Restaurant comp traffic improvement ticked up a bit more than comp sales. Comp sales were worst in California, the New York-New Jersey Region, New England and Florida. The Southeast, Southwest and Texas became the best-performing regions.

Limited-service restaurants have outperformed full-service restaurants. Within full-service, casual-dining has become the best-performing segment.


In the week following—the week ending October 9—comp sales improvement decelerated for the second week in a row. The fast-food segment has continued outperform and posted 22 consecutive months of positive comp sales growth. Fast casual has also been posting a strong performance; but even despite the improvement, notes Black Box, the segment continues to lose sales compared to 2019.

Photo credit: Louis Hansel (featured preview image)

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