Sales Show Slight Improvement

Industry performance and leading indicators of an improved outlook are top of mind as we enter week 8 of the COVID-19 crisis.

On the restaurant side, sales and visits bottomed out in late March and were down between 60 and 70 percent when compared to pre-COVID trends. Today things have improved so that sales are now “only” down 50 percent as compared with pre-COVID, up from a low of 60-70 percent.

In the chart below, you can see the following:

  • Beginning around March 12, 2020, restaurant sales declined rapidly, and by March 18 week-on week sales were down more than 50%.
  • The decline continued until late March, by which time sales were down ~60-70% from pre-COVID levels.
  • Sales stabilized from late March until around April 7, 2020.
  • Since April 7, 2020, we have seen sales start to recover. Every day (except two of them) has seen higher sales than the previous week. The large spike was caused by Easter Sunday.
  • ‘Overall, restaurant sales are up 10% from the time sales bottomed out in March and are now at approximately 50% of pre-COVID levels.

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Spotlight Series: Virtual Fun

Our new “normal” is now a world filled with video connections. We have video chat happy hours, movie nights, workout classes, schools and just about anything else. It’s not surprising that restaurants are getting into the game as a way to engage guests with virtual cooking workshops. In fact, many are using registration fees to bolster restaurant relief funds that benefit laid off or furloughed service workers. Classes have ranged from matzo ball workshops to cookie baking demonstrations to intros to making macarons. […]

Spotlight Series: Spreading Cheer in Isolation

Apricot Stone

People in the hospitality industry are feeling lost. Without those fun, human interactions that once fueled their livelihood, restaurant workers are looking for ways to inject some vibrancy back into their guest experience.

Ara Ishkhanian, owner of the Armenian restaurant Apricot Stone in Philadelphia wanted to duplicate the dining out experience in an at-home setting, and maintain strong relationships with his guests, so he took a unique and lighthearted approach to the situation. The restaurant created a virtual dine-in experience in which guests make a reservation then place their order over video call with Ishkhanian. He dresses up as a server and guides guests through the menu while standing in front of a set table. The food is then made and delivered, and Ishkhanian follows up after his in-house delivery fleet notifies him it’s been dropped off. Talk about good virtual service!

Although it’s a bit silly, guests are missing the restaurant environment, and this is a great way for restaurants like the Apricot Stone to show their community how much they value their customer experiences. […]

Spotlight Series: Supporting Our Communities

As the restaurant industry deals with massive change, we’re spotlighting the brands that are spreading positive messages and uplifting their customers during this isolating time. Many have lessons to teach us all as they work to foster a deep emotional connection with their community.

Burrito Beach

UberEats tells us that here in Massachusetts the burrito rules supreme when it comes to food delivery. But in Chicago, Burrito Beach is bringing burritos to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The Mexican grill has launched “Buy A Hero A Burrito” which asks customers to purchase a $10 voucher for a hospital worker to show gratitude for their work. In just two days the promotion raised nearly $4,000. […]