After getting off to a sluggish start to the year amid challenging weather conditions, restaurant sales finished the first quarter on a positive note. The outlook for restaurant sales remains positive for the rest of the year, as restaurant operators’ level of sales optimism rose to its strongest level in more than a decade, according to the NRA’s chief economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.
After getting off to a sluggish start to the year amid challenging weather conditions, restaurant sales finished the first quarter on a positive note. According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, eating and drinking place sales totaled $50.4 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March, up 0.7 percent from February’s volume of $50.0 billion.
The solid March gain came on the heels of two consecutive months in which sales remained essentially flat, which was due in part to the impact of winter storms in some parts of the country.
Overall, eating and drinking place sales totaled $150.4 billion in the first quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up $2 billion from the fourth quarter’s sales volume of $148.4 billion. In addition, it represented the first time on record that eating and drinking place sales topped the $150 billion level in a quarter.