The smart folks at GuestMetrics are revolutionizing how the hospitality industry operates and understands its customers and products. The company collects data from over 10,000 restaurants closely representative of the broad on-premise sector across geographies, and with respect to the make-up of casual dining, bars/clubs, fine dining and lodging.
According to GuestMetrics latest press release full service restaurants and bars closed out the year on a particularly weak note. While overall traffic to full service restaurants and bars was -1.9 percent for the full year vs. 2012, the picture towards the end of the year was even weaker: traffic to on-premise was -3.3 percent during 4Q13, and looking specifically at the final four weeks of the year, was down nearly 6 percent vs. year ago levels, likely impacted by unfavorable weather and a shorter holiday shopping cycle leading to fewer gift shopping trips and the dining out meals that often accompany them. Here are three other big trends the company noted.
- Traffic to bars/clubs was -3.8 percent during the full year compared to 2012, and looking specifically at the periods at the end of the year, was down 5.9 percent during 4Q and 6.6 percent during the final four weeks of the year, likely symptomatic of young adult consumers in the United States remaining under significant economic pressure. Traffic to casual dining was down 2.2 percent for the full year compared to 2012, was down 3.6 percent during 4Q, and looking specifically at the final four weeks of the year, was down 6.8 percent. Traffic to fine dining restaurants held up quite a bit better than in the other two channels, with traffic up 0.2 percent for the full year compared to 2012, but was down 1.4 percent during 4Q and 2.2 percent during the final four weeks.
- Consistent with the weak traffic trends, volume trends for the alcohol categories were also quite weak in on-premise during 2013. Beer volumes were down 4.0 percent for the full year compared to 2012, with volumes down 5.2 percent during 4Q, and 7.3 percent for the final four weeks of the year. Spirits volumes were slightly better, but still weak, down about 2.5 percent for the full year compared to 2012, and also experienced a weak end of the year with volumes down 3.8 percent in 4Q and 5.8 percent during the final four weeks. Lastly, wine, which had started off the year on a strong note but then softened throughout the year, had volumes down about 1 percent for the full year, and also closed out the year on a weak note, with volumes down 2 percent in 4Q and around 4 percent for the final four weeks of the year.
- While it is certainly discouraging to see such weak trends in on-premise for 2013, particularly towards the end of the year, the key will be to see whether some of the weakness seen at year-end was due to unusual factors (i.e.,. the more compressed shopping season and unfavorable weather), and whether there might be a rebound in traffic and alcohol volume trends to kick off 2014, which is particularly important given the focus on on-premise announced by many of the alcohol suppliers over the past few months.
For more info, visit www.guestmetrics.com.
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