If the latest GuestSciences (formerly GuestMetrics prior to acquiring Restaurant Sciences) data is to be believed, on-premise operators are off to a sluggish start in 2014.
Foot traffic to restaurants, bars and nightclubs is down 4.5 percent through Feb. 23, a trend GuestSciences blamed on “unusually harsh weather conditions.”
The key for restaurant owners, GuestSciences writes, will be to “see whether there’s any type of rebound from potential pent-up demand as we head into the warmer months.”
The weaker foot traffic has led to declining on-premise beer sales, which were down 7.3 percent through the first four weeks of the year. Trends rebounded slightly in February, however, and GuestSciences pegs year-to-date beer sales down 6.4 percent through Feb. 23.
Beer wasn’t the only segment that suffered, either. Sales of wine and spirits were also in decline through the first eight weeks, down 5.6 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.