According to GuestMetrics, food & beverage trends at table service restaurants and bars through early September 2013 deteriorated from the already weak levels through mid-August, and with 3Q13 nearly 80 percent complete, the quarter is likely to be the weakest for on-premise thus far in 2013.
“Our data indicates that across the board during the 4-week period ending September 8th, trends for full service restaurants and bars continued to be very weak,” says Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics. “Overall traffic to full service restaurants and bars started out the year at -1.4 percent in 1Q13, improved slightly to -0.8 percent in 2Q13, and with about 80 percent of 3Q13 now completed, is at -1.4 percent, with traffic at -1.8 percent during the most recent 4 weeks. Furthermore, all three segments within on-premise have been generally very weak. Traffic to bars and clubs was -3.5 percent in 1Q13, improved slightly to -1.6 percent during 2Q13, and is now at -3.6 percent thus far in 3Q13, with traffic down a concerning -5.0 percent during the most recent 4 weeks. Traffic to fine dining started out the year at +2.3 percent, softened to +1.4 percent during 2Q13, and thus far in 3Q13, is +0.4 percent, with traffic dipping into negative y/y territory for the first time in the year during the most recent 4 weeks at -0.1 percent. Casual dining traffic, while soft at least doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of getting any softer, starting out the year at -2.2 percent, improving slightly to -1.4 percent during 2Q13, and is at -1.7 percent thus far in 3Q13, with traffic at –1.9 percent during the most recent 4 weeks. These trends are certainly discouraging and definitely a sign of the broad consumer base that continues to be very careful with their discretionary dollars.”
“To get a better sense for how the weak restaurant traffic impacted alcoholic beverages sold on-premise, we looked at the most recent category trends,” says Peter Reidhead, vice president of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics “On-premise alcohol volumes were -2.8 percent during 1Q13, recovered somewhat to -1.4 percent in 2Q13, and with about 80 percent of 3Q13 now completed, have decelerated to -3.4 percent, with volumes down 4.2 percent during the most recent 4 weeks. In terms of the specific alcohol categories, beer volumes were -4.3 percent in 1Q13, improved to -2.0 percent in 2Q13, and thus far in the quarter, have deteriorated to -4.6 percent, with volumes at -5.5 percent during the most recent 4-weeks, the worst of any 4-week period thus far in the year, likely due to the extremely weak traffic trends we’re seeing to bars and clubs. Spirits volumes were -2.3 percent in 1Q13, saw a slight improvement to -1.4 percent in 2Q13, and weakened to -2.8 percent in 3Q13 to-date, with volumes at -3.4 percent during the most recent 4-week period, the second worst period of the year only behind February. Wine volumes started off the year on a positive note at +0.8 percent in 1Q13, generally remained at that level in 2Q13 at +0.9 percent, and have now dipped into negative year-over-year territory at -0.9 percent, with wine volumes at -1.8 percent in the most recent 4 weeks, the softest of the year.”
“Despite these weak trends, within each of the food and alcohol categories, there continue to be pockets of strength, which we have been actively helping our restaurant and supplier clients to capitalize on, despite the challenging trends in the on-premise sector,” says Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics.