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Chains backslide

How employment impacts regional sales 

Same-store sales across the chain restaurant industry are down in 2017, but the outlook varies across the country, finds research firm TDn2K. Much of that can be traced back to employment, says Victor Fernandez, executive director of insights and knowledge for the researcher. 

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Chain restaurant sales, traffic backslide 

Operators have anecdotally referenced rough times, but the numbers don’t lie—2017 wasn’t a great year for restaurants. Traffic worsened for chains, according to TDn2K, and the 1.7% decline in chains’ same-store sales was a further drop than the 1.1% decline of last year. 

Traffic fell 3.7%, a number that’s been steadily getting worse since the 0.8% drop back in 2015. 

One number did grow: Average guest check was up 2.1% in 2017. “Part of that has been an increase in prices pushing those up,” says TDn2K’s Victor Fernandez. “Restaurants overall haven’t seen the decline in prices that grocery has had, and we believe a lot of that is labor. … This is an industry a lot more hesitant in terms of cutting price.” 

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