• April was “the best month for restaurants based on sales growth in over three years,” Nation’s Restaurant News reports.
  • Significant growth in average guest checks accounted for most of the overall same-store sales growth, NRN notes.

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Same-store sales for restaurants nationwide grew last month by 6.8 percent over April 2019, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, but traffic growth remains in the negative territory.

Basing its numbers on a Black Box Intelligence report, NRN says same-store sales for April were 4.6 percent higher than the numbers reported last month, marking “the best month for restaurants based on sales growth in over three years.” But two-year same-store traffic growth was -4.2 percent in April. While that’s a 4.9 percent increase over March 2021, it’s still down compared to April 2019.

The article notes that “most restaurant sales growth can be attributed to unusually large growth in average guest checks.”

“Looking ahead, we see optimism for faster sales recovery [and] positive sales growth versus 2019,” said Kelli Valade, president and CEO of Black Box Intelligence, in a CREATE Digital Dive Keynote presentation.

But there’s still progress to be made, she said. “It will likely take longer for traffic to recover.”

Valade also discussed the tight labor market, noting that operators are having the most luck finding new employees by turning to their current staff for referrals. “Remember, leaning back into the ones that you have, kind of ‘love the ones that you’re with’ … They are key to … keeping that flywheel turning on referrals, which again—since the beginning of time—has been one of the best ways to find people.”

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