GuestMetrics gathers data from the point-of-sales (POS) systems from restaurants and bars across the United States. Here’s what they’re saying about the last four weeks. Traffic to the on-premise channel remained positive during the four-week period ending Oct. 5 (+0.1) bringing 3Q traffic to -0.1 percent, which is a strong improvement over the -1 percent YTD figure and -1.8 percent tough 1Q start to the year. Overall on-premise food and beverage sales were up 3 percent in the latest four weeks.
The casual dining segment has been one of the key ingredients to the improved traffic trends with casual dining traffic up 0.5 percent latest four weeks vs. -0.8 percent YTD. Bars and clubs remained weak with traffic down 1.8 percent for the latest four weeks vs. -2.2 percent YTD. Lodging remains strong with traffic up 1.5 percent and flat YTD. Fine dining has slowed with traffic down 1.6 percent the latest four weeks, the same as the YTD trend.
Beer volume was down 3.4 percent in the latest four weeks bringing 3Q to down 2.7 percent vs. the YTD trend of down 3.5 percent. Beer dollar sales were up 0.7 percent in the latest four weeks on accelerated price/mix of +4.1 percent. YTD beer dollar sales are flat on price/mix of +3.5 percent. 3Q started out stronger in July/August and then weakened in September. Premium Light share was down 1.8 percent in the latest four weeks vs. down 1.9 percent YTD; Craft gained +1.6 percent share, which is below the 2 percent YTD gain and well below the 2.3 percent gain in 1Q. The fastest growing segments were IPA, which had a share gain of 1.4 percent, and cider, which had a share gain of 0.6 percent.
While lower gas prices might help consumer spending in the weeks ahead, consumer confidence has fallen over the past few weeks, likely driven by geopolitical headlines and the pull-back in the stock market.