Recent Posts

Restaurants: BlackBox Index a Little Stronger in June 2021

Earlier today (Thursday, July 15th), we learned that the BlackBox Index of same-store sales for June 2021 — importantly, these data points are on a two-year basis — was up by +6.6%, with two-year traffic off by -4.2%. This +6.6% figure is about +120 basis points sequentially better than the +5.4% two-year number from May 2021. Since the June 2020 BlackBox Index was down by -18.7%, the two-year figure for June 2021 of +6.6% implies […]

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2:27 PM

Updating Our Q2E Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Index for Q2E to +45.0%. On a two-year basis, this is approximately +12%. The U.S. chain restaurant business is coming back strong sales-wise, although we’d caution that there is a broad range of performances on both a one-year and a two-year basis when looking at individual concepts. For Q2 2021, the one-year numbers by segment are all in positive territory as follows:> Kalinowski Fine Dining […]

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8:12 PM

Quick-Service/Fast-Casual: 2-Year Average Check Gain Remain Elevated in June

June 2021 was the third full month in the U.S. to lap a year-ago month that was affected by the pandemic and related issues. How is average check changing in the U.S. quick-service and fast-casual segments given these recent dynamics? Our bottom line: average check is holding in better than expected for fast-casual and quick-service. To the extent two-year trends in average check don’t deteriorate all that much over the remainder of 2021, this could […]

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4:14 PM

Market-Share Dynamics for 2021-22 Favor Restaurants Over Grocery Stores

We look for the U.S. restaurant industry to win back additional market share over the next 12-18 months, and at some point it could even exceed the pre-pandemic market share it had of Americans’ food & beverage dollars. In 2019 — the last full-year before the pandemic — U.S. Food Services and Drinking Places (think: primarily restaurants) generated $773.8 billion in sales, according to U.S. Census data. Also in 2019, U.S. Grocery Stores generated $693.4 […]

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4:29 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q2E to +20.3%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the -7.4% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q2E is at +11.4%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early-to-mid June. One reason for the robust one-year and two-year performance from the […]

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4:27 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Family Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Family Dining Index for Q2E to +106.4%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the -54.1% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Family Dining Index for Q2E is at -5.3%. (These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early-to-mid June.) The negative two-year number for our Kalinowski Family Dining Index is […]

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5:09 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Index for Q2E to +0.9%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the +14.1% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Index for Q2E is at +15.1%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early June. We believe that the carryout/delivery parts of the quick-service pizza sector […]

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5:00 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Casual Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Casual Dining Index for Q2E to +97.7%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the -42.3% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Casual Dining Index for Q2E is at +14.0%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early-to-mid June. Keep in mind, individual performance can vary wildly on a concept-by-concept […]

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5:20 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Index for Q2E to +11.3%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the +1.5% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Index for Q2E is at +13.0%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early June. As a reminder, we define “quick-service other” as all quick-service, excluding […]

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8:19 AM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Fine Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fine Dining Index for Q2E to +204.0%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the -64.3% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Fine Dining Index for Q2E is at +8.5%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early June. Fine dining same-store sales have typically lagged those of casual dining […]

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8:50 PM

Restaurants: BlackBox Index Rises on a Two-Year Basis for May 2021

Earlier today (Thursday, June 10th), we learned that the BlackBox Index of samestore sales for May 2021 — importantly, these data points are on a two-year basis — was up by +5.4%, with two-year traffic off by -5.3%. The +5.4% figure is about -140 basis points sequentially worse than the +6.8% twoyear number from April 2021. Since the May 2020 BlackBox Index was down by -39.5%, the two-year figure for May 2021 of +5.4% implies […]

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5:22 PM

Updating our Q2E Kalinowski Fast-Casual Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fast-Casual Index for Q2E to +32.6%. This is the one-year figure, lapping the -10.7% number from Q2 2020. On a two-year basis, the Kalinowski Fast-Casual Index for Q2E is at +18.3%. These numbers are based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during April, May, and early June. One reason for the very good one-year and two-year performance from the FastCasual […]

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9:05 PM

Quick-Service/Fast-Casual: 2-Year Average Check Gain Holds Mostly Steady in May

May 2021 was the second full month in the U.S. to lap a year-ago month that was affected by the pandemic and related issues. How is average check changing in the U.S. quick-service and fast-casual segments given these recent dynamics? Our bottom line: average check is holding in better than expected for fast-casual and quick-service. To the extent two-year trends in average check don’t deteriorate all that much over the remainder of 2021, this could […]

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9:12 PM

Looking to Popeyes to Learn about Domino’s and Papa John’s

Over the last six months, have published multiple reports suggesting that to learn how Domino’s and Papa John’s might lap very challenging same-store sales comparisons over Q2 2021-Q1 2022, keep an eye on Popeyes — and how Popeyes is lapping its highly challenging same-store sales comparisons during Q4 2020-Q3 2021. Our bottom line remains that Domino’s and Papa John’s could end up lapping these tough numbers better than the Street anticipates. This report updates our […]

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9:19 PM

Pizza Sector: What Same-Store Sales Trends Hint at re: Average Unit Volumes

Recently, Domino’s, Pizza Hut (owned by Yum Brands [YUM; Neutral, $119.71]), and Papa John’s all reported their Q1 2021 U.S. same-store sales. In this report, we discuss how these same-store sales results — and potential results for full-year 2021 — relate to these three concepts’ average unit volumes (AUVs). We further discuss what this means for the companies, and their stocks.

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12:31 PM

The Top 25 U.S. Restaurant Concepts of 2021 and 2022?

Given the upheaval going on in the domestic restaurant industry last year and so far this year, we thought it would be intriguing to take a look at what restaurant concepts might end up as the largest in the U.S. (based on U.S. systemwide sales) for both full-year 2021 and full-year 2022. What concepts would be relative winners? What concepts might find themselves sliding down in rank?

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12:33 PM

Burger Sector: What Same-Store Sales Trends Hint at re: Average Unit Volumes

Recently, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King (owned by Restaurant Brands International [QSR; Not Rated]) all reported their Q1 2021 U.S. same-store sales. In this report, we discuss how these same-store sales results — and potential results for full-year 2021 — relate to these three concepts’ average unit volumes (AUVs). We further discuss what this means for the companies, and their stocks.

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12:39 PM

Restaurants: BlackBox Index Up on a Two-Year Basis for March 2021

Earlier today (Thursday, April 15th), we learned that the BlackBox Index of samestore sales for March 2021 — importantly, these data points are on a two-year basis — was up by +1.8%, with two-year traffic off by -9.4%. The +1.8% two-year number implies a one-year March 2021 figure of about +42%. This +42% figure is the first positive month for the BlackBox Index since February 2020’s +0.3%. We also calculate that two-year traffic is down […]

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5:42 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Index for Q1E to +7.1%. This is the first positive quarter since Q4 2019’s +4.2% showing. The Q1 2020/21 two-year number works out to +3.5%. (The Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Index declined by -3.4% in Q1 2020, followed by its worst-ever performanceof -17.5% in Q2 2020.) For Q1 2021, all four of our limited-service (quick-service and fast-casual) indices are in positive territory, while all three of […]

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4:45 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Index for Q1E to +7.3%. This +7.3% figure reflects implicit monthly numbers of about +7% for January 2021 (helped by consumer spending driven by stimulus), flattish for February 2021 (reflecting a dwindling of the prior month’s stimulus benefits, and coupled with bad weather across a good chunk of the U.S. in mid-to-late February), and +23% for March (helped by more stimulus-related consumer spending, plus easy […]

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4:57 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Family Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Family Dining Index for Q1E to -7.8%. This 7.8% figure reflects implicit monthly numbers of about -27% for January 2021, -26% for February 2021, and +54% for March (helped by super-easy year-over-year comparisons being lapped from mid-to-late March 2020… we believe family dining sector same-store sales declined by about -45% during March 2020 as a whole, getting worse as that month progressed). Keep in mind that March […]

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4:23 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q1E to +10.9%. This +10.9% figure reflects implicit monthly numbers of about +10% for January 2021 (helped by consumer spending driven by stimulus), +2% for February 2021 (reflecting a dwindling of the prior month’s stimulus benefits, and coupled with bad weather across a good chunk of the U.S. in mid-to-late February), and +30% for March (helped by more stimulus-related consumer spending, plus easy […]

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4:04 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Fast-Casual Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fast-Casual Index for Q1E to +12.9%. This is based on what we believe was better-than-expected same-store sales for the fast-casual sector in both January and March, partially offset by a weakerthan-expected February. Of particular note is that for the week of March 16-22, we believe that segment same-store sales rose by 50%+ on a one-year basis, or by positive mid-teens on a two-year basis. Factors driving this […]

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4:57 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Index for Q1E to +11.3%. There may even be potential for upside, based on the following positive factors: (1) quick-service delivery specialists still seem to be more appreciated by consumers in general, (2) stimulus-related consumer spending in January and in March, and (3) the return of the March Madness college basketball tournament — generating TV ratings on par with 2019 levels, unlike many other major […]

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4:09 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Casual Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Casual Dining Index for Q1E to -1.2%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during January, February, and the first half of March. Our implied numbers for this January, February, and all of March are approximately -19%, -20%, and +45%, respectively. (Please note that equal-weighting these months would result in a number equal to +1.7%, but due […]

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4:22 PM

Updating our Q1E Kalinowski Fine Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fine Dining Index for Q1E to -12.0%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during January, February, and the first half of March. Our implied numbers for this January, February, and all of March are approximately -35%, -22%, and +35%, respectively. (Please note that equal-weighting these months would result in a number equal to -7.3%, but due […]

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4:40 PM

Restaurants: Key Info for Accurately Calculating Two-Year Same-Store Sales

Normally, when looking at two-year same-store sales trends, the magnitude of the numbers involved is so low that the two-year rate is calculated by just adding the two years together. The “errors” this simple method produces are negligible. For example, a concept that generates +5.0% same-store sales in the year-ago period, and -5.0% same-store sales in the current period, would have a simple-method two-year number of 0.0%. But the actual math works out to a […]

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4:31 PM

Restaurants: BlackBox Index for Feb. 2021 Could be Last Negative for a While

Earlier today (Thursday, March 11th), we learned that the BlackBox Index of samestore sales for February 2021 was down by -12.6%, with same-store traffic off by -19.1%. The -12.6% figure is 770 basis points sequentially worse than the January 2021 index number of -4.9%. We expect March 2021 will fare much better. The index was up a modest +0.3% in February 2020, only to be followed by steep declines of -28.3% in March 2020 and […]

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4:37 PM

Which Restaurant Stocks are Most Below their 52-Week Highs?

Sometimes, relative bargains can be unearthed when looking at a group of stocks, and comparing their current prices with these stocks’ 52-week highs. For example, many full-service restaurant stocks were -50% or more below their 52-week highs as of late March 2020, and in hindsight, this proved to be a great time to load up on many full-service restaurant stocks. But what about today? Bottom line: there (generally) may be more of an opportunity over […]

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5:00 PM

Look to Popeyes to Learn about Domino’s and Papa John’s (Updated)

In December, we published a report — “Look to Popeyes to Learn about Domino’s and Papa John’s” — in which we noted that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen would lap highly challenging same-store sales comparisons before Domino’s and Papa John’s would, and how Popeyes performed might have some lessons for these pizza players. Since then, Popeyes’ parent company Restaurant Brands International (QSR; Not Rated) reported that Popeyes’ Q4 2020 U.S. same-store sales declined by -6.4%. This, of […]

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4:59 PM

Restaurants: The BlackBox Index for January 2021 Shows Stimulus Benefits

Earlier today (Thursday, February 11th) we learned that the BlackBox Index of same-store sales for January 2021 was down by -4.9%, with same-store traffic off by -12.2%. The -4.9% figure is +840 basis points better than the -13.3% number for December 2020, and +550 basis points better than the -10.3% figure for Q4 2020 as a whole. We expect February 2021 won’t quite be as “good” as January 2021 was, as stimulusrelated consumer spending clearly […]

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5:15 PM

Restaurants: Roark Capital Raising $5 Billion; What Could it Acquire Next?

In a document dated January 28th filed with the SEC, privately-held Roark Capital indicates that it plans to raise $5 billion for its latest fund, Roark Capital Partners VI (T) LP. Roark already owns 20+ restaurant concepts, and that excludes its strategic investment in The Cheesecake Factory (CAKE; Neutral, $44.97). What restaurant concept or concepts might Roark acquire next?

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3:10 PM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Index for Q4E to -2.4%. While this is a lot better than Q2 2020’s -17.5%, and similar to Q3 2020’s -2.0%, it is somewhat disappointing in the context that as of mid-October we thought there was a 40% chance that Q4 2020 would turn positive. That was not meant to be. For Q4 2020, all four of our limited-service (quick-service and fast-casual) indices are in […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Other Index for Q4E to +2.3%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during October, November, and December. We believe that October same-store sales were likely the best month of the quarter, while November was likely the worst month of the quarter. (As a reminder, we define “quick-service other” as all quick-service, excluding burger, pizza, and […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Fast-Casual Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fast Casual Index for Q4E to +3.4%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards samestore sales performance for this segment during October, November, and December. We believe that November same-store sales were likely the best month of the quarter, while December was likely the worst month of the quarter. That said, we believe fastcasual sector same-store sales month-to-date in January are better than […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Pizza Index for Q4E to +12.1%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during October, November, and December. We believe that December same-store sales were likely the best month of the quarter, while October was helped by arguably the busiest Halloween ever for pizza delivery/carryout. That said, our updated +12.1% figure for Q4 2020 is sequentially […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q4E to +4.5%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during October, November, and December. While we believe that sector same-store sales were fairly similar in each of these three months, it appears that November was the best of the three, and December the worst of the three, although all three ended up […]

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12:00 AM

Family Dining Market Share Opportunities for IHOP, Denny’s, and CBRL (Updated)

About six months ago, we published a report examining market-share opportunities within the family dining sector. In this report, we update our numbers. One of the important changes is that we now look for 10%-25% of the family dining restaurants in the U.S. that were in operation as of the start of 2020 to be closed permanently by the end of March 2021. (Previously, we were looking for 5%-10% of family dining restaurants to be […]

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12:00 AM

Casual Dining Market Share Opportunities for Large Concepts

About six months ago, we published a report examining market-share opportunities within the casual dining sector. In this report, we update our numbers. One of the important changes is that we now look for 8%-20% of the casual dining restaurants in the U.S. that were in operation as of the start of 2020 to be closed permanently by the end of March 2021. (Previously, we were looking for 3%-15% of casual dining restaurants to be […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Fine Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Fine Dining Index for Q4E to -28.8%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards samestore sales performance for this segment during October and November. Our implied numbers for this October, November, and December are approximately -25%, -28%, and -33%, respectively. In fact, our checks indicate that for the fine dining sector, every week in both October and November was sequentially worse than the […]

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12:00 AM

Restaurants The BlackBox Index for November 2020 Shows Sequential Deceleration

Earlier today (Thursday, December 3rd), we learned that the BlackBox Index of samestore sales for November 2020 was down by -10.3%, with same-store traffic off by -16.3%. The -10.3% figure is -280 basis points worse than the -7.5% number for October 2020, and -220 basis points worse than the -8.1% figure for September 2020. With the so-called third wave of COVID-19 taking place at present, we believe that odds are likely that the December 2020 […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Family Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Family Dining Index for Q4E to -23.2%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards samestore sales performance for this segment during October and November. Our implied numbers for this October, November, and December are approximately -20%, -23%, and -27%, respectively. Optimists (including us) will point out that at some point in 2021, perhaps even in early 2021, trends should start to improve again […]

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12:00 AM

Look to Popeyes to Learn about Domino’s and Papa John’s

Both Domino’s (DPZ; Buy, $392.57) and Papa John’s (PZZA; Buy, $80.36) begin lapping very difficult year-over-year domestic same-store sales comparisons in Q2 2021. What can we learn about the recent history of restaurant concepts that have lapped difficult comparisons, in this regard? And, what might Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (owned by Restaurant Brands International [QSR; Not Rated]) teach us about what to expect for Domino’s and Papa John’s domestic same-store sales in 2021? Our bottom line […]

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Casual Dining Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Casual Dining Index for Q4E to -18.4%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards samestore sales performance for this segment during October and November. Our implied numbers for these October, November, and December are approximately -14%, -19%, and -22%, respectively. Optimists (including us) will point out that at some point in 2021, perhaps even in early 2021, trends should start to improve again […]

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12:00 AM

Large Restaurant Concepts Closing a Lot Less Units than Independent

Looking at unit closures announced and planned by large restaurant chains, and comparing these to unit closures from mom-and-pops/independents, goes to show just how large a market-share shift is going on in the U.S. restaurant industry. We look for most, if not all, of this market-share shift in favor of large concepts to persist in the years after 2020. By our math, we look for large restaurant concepts — representing about 37% of the U.S. […]

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12:00 AM

Restaurants Full-Service Same-Store Sales Decelerating So Far in November

Based on our data-driven checks, we believe that same-store sales for U.S. chain restaurants in the casual dining, family dining, and fine dining segments are all showing sequential deceleration for the first half of November relative to fullOctober. This new trend follows 5-6 consecutive months of either sequentially improving full-service same-store sales (or at least not meaningfully deteriorating sequential same-store sales). For U.S. chain casual dining, first half of November same-store sales appear to be […]

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12:00 AM

Restaurants The BlackBox Index for October 2020 Shows Decelerating Rebound

Earlier today (Thursday, November 5th), we learned that the BlackBox Index of samestore sales for October 2020 was down by -7.5%, with same-store traffic down by -13.7%. The -7.5% figure is +60 basis points better than the September 2020 number of -8.1%, which was +420 basis points better than the August 2020 figure of -12.3%. It is no longer a given that sequential improvements will happen. We believe that so far in November — five […]

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12:00 AM

Could U.S. Restaurant Industry Same-Store Sales Turn Positive in Q4

Could the U.S. restaurant industry as a whole get back to positive same-store sales in Q4 2020? At this point, we believe that our Kalinowski Restaurant Industry Index — comprised of 47 publicly-traded restaurant concepts, and which generated over $180 billion in 2019 U.S. systemwide sales, and this accounted for over 30% of the overall domestic restaurant industry — has about a 40% chance of turning positive in Q4 2020. Last week, we updated our […]

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12:00 AM
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