Rent problems for small-business restaurants have eased somewhat since December, according to the latest report from Alignable, which keeps an eye on rent delinquency rates for small businesses in every segment.

“Restaurant rent delinquencies dropped six percentage points in February, landing at just 34%,” the Alignable report states. “The last time this figure was this low was a year ago.”

Rent delinquency for independent restaurants hit a staggering 52% in December 2022, as operators struggled to control food and labor costs even amidst a holiday boom period. However, the rate dropped to 38% in January, then rose to 40% in February.

Related: Alex Koons’ 4 steps for interviewing potential pizzeria employees

According to a March 24 report from the National Restaurant Association, eating and drinking places registered total sales of $92.7 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in February. That report was based on preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

February restaurant sales showed a $2 billion drop from January’s downward-revised reading of $94.8 billion. But February sales topped December 2022’s seasonally adjusted sales of $89.8 billion, the data shows.

“The seasonally-adjusted sales readings in January and February were well above the trendline established in 2022,” the National Restaurant Association noted. “While this could be partially due to the influence of atypical seasonal factors, the unadjusted data continued to show positive results compared to year-ago levels. Taken together, total eating and drinking place sales in January and February were more than 19% above the first two months of 2022.”

Pizza News