OPEN TABLE STATISTICS, UPDATED THROUGH YESTERDAY – DOWN SO FAR, DOWN LOOKS LIKE UP TO ME!
There is no doubt that traffic and comparable sales numbers have improved substantially from the depression like numbers of late March and April. The country started reopening in late April and May, continued into June, but has largely stalled in July. This generalization applies largely to the full service dining chains. The fast feeders, including so called “fast casual”, have generally continued to improve, especially those with strong off-premise capabilities, and quite a few of those chains are now comping positively.
We find that the Open Table statistics, which are available on a daily basis, provide a reasonably accurate commentary on the state of full service casual dining and retail sales in general. Lots of news organizations provide headlines, but we provide the numbers below, showing the daily declines (going back to the middle of May) in dining reservations, and our readers can interpret the trends for themselves.
It is apparent that reservations improved (the declines decreased) steadily from May through the end of June. The improvement stagnated, however, in July, as some states rolled back their opening plans and some consumers become concerned again by health risk.
It is interesting, and not surprising that, as the chart below shows, the number of dining rooms that are taking reservations has plateaued in July as well. The daily news that describes rollbacks of opening plans in some states, slowing in others, and concerns almost everywhere, leads us to believe that the pace of recovery will be slow, at best. Off the top of our head, now that professional baseball and baseball and golf are available on TV, even without crowds, diners might be happy to hang around the house, even invite a few quiet friends over. A few fans might go to a local bar, but probably not to Buffalo Wild Wings or Dave & Buster’s. Domino’s still delivers, last I heard.
Lastly, for those readers that like to study numbers even more, we have provided a state by state listing, from Open Table, that shows dining reservations during July. We will continue to provide updates. Let’s watch together.