Restaurant industry sales increase 2.5% in February: National Restaurant Association

Highest sales volume in nine months comes with warning about March

A restaurant industry sales report indicates that sales for February 2022 at eating and drink places were up 2.5% from the prior month on a seasonally-adjusted basis. The update from the National Restaurant Association also indicated January’s adjusted total sales came in at $72.1B.

Industry sales performance during February was the strongest seen in the last nine months. Before February, sales had been essentially flat for six months, noted the Association. Plus, February restaurant sales certainly benefited from a significant drop in Omicron cases compared to January.

Data-tracking firm Black Box Intelligence also noted that February’s sales performance was healthy. Restaurant industry comp(arable) sales in February increased 2.7% from last year. Based on comp traffic declining 13.8%, comp traffic and mix likely combined for double-digit offsetting gains.

Black Box also noted that, more recently in March 2022, sales had been on an upward trend, showing gains not seen since November.

According to data cited by the Association, gas prices hit an all-time high of $4.32 per gallon March 14. Elevated gas prices pose a threat to recovering sales within the industry. Analysts posit that discretionary spending for restaurant and foodservice purchases will be impacted by continued increases in prices at the pump.

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Moreover, the Association warns that any impact to restaurant and foodservice spending will impact both on-premises and off-premises sales.

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