The restaurant brokers have received the latest survey of sales results from Bob Wagner of Net Financials and the news is surprisingly good. According to the report, "Atlanta restaurant sales again outpaced national sales trends."
The first quarter was brutal weatherwise with unseasonably cold temperatures, "Snowmeggeden" and multiple days of closures because of weather. Despite that, Atlanta restaurant sales volume increased 5.9% for Q1 2014. Positive sales were in play for nearly two-thirds of the Atlanta restaurants surveyed in the latest report.
At the same time Atlanta was looking at 5.9% increases, the rest of the nation demonstrated sales trends that were weak with little to no growth and declining customer traffic.
Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic-tracking company showed that Atlanta outperformed the nations by nearly six percentage points. Nationally, Q1 revenues declined -.2% while same-store customer traffic declined -2.2%. Another restaurant traffic-tracking firm, MillerPulse, reported dismal sales and negative customer traffic for Q1 2014. Even McDonalds reported a Q1 decline of -1.7% in USA store sales.
Robert Wagner, author of the stud and NetFinancials president states that, “Q1 2014 results were better than expected. Mother Nature threw a lot of snow and ice at the Atlanta market in January and February. Many Atlanta restaurant operators experienced challenging, even scary, weather-related sales declines in January and February. However, remarkably strong March 2014 Atlanta restaurant sales growth ‘saved the day’. Q1 2014 sales results are a testament to the fundamental strength of Atlanta’s vibrant restaurant industry.
The restaurant brokers could not agree more. "Sales at restaurants in this market continue to be remarkably resistant to the trends across the country," said Robin Gagnon. "The larger sales line contributes to higher net profits and also makes this an attr
active market for restaurant sales. We continue to experience strong increases in activity on restaurants for sales and closed deals as a comparison to the same quarter last year."
What drove the Atlanta results? Well the expert say it was robust Atlanta-area visitor traffic, local population growth and positive metro economic trends. In particular the metro Atlanta unemployment rate dropped from 8.0% in March 2013 to 6.8% in March 2014. Restaurant operators report that the Q1 2014 sales increase was driven by both higher customer counts
and higher check averages.”
The Sample: The 93 independently-operated, non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total Q1 2014 survey sales volume was $58 million. Our sample included restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments opened at least 15 months.
Robert Wagner, CPA is president of NetFinancials, Inc. which provides a full range of tax and accounting services for restaurant companies. www.netfinancials.com The NetFinancials quarterly Atlanta restaurant sales survey is provided as a public service to the restaurant