American restaurants are expected to report dismal same-store sales for the first quarter, slammed by cold weather and cost-conscious consumers, but the industry hopes that Mom will come to the rescue.
A forecast from Thomson Reuters shows eatery sales in a “deep freeze,” advancing a “sluggish” 1% after surging 6.3% during the same quarter in 2012.
Bitter temperatures, especially in the Northeast, kept traffic minimal, according to the report. But even when diners ventured out, “they didn’t want to spend much,” according to the report.
Payroll tax hikes this year and ongoing food cost inflation forced many restaurants to raise menu prices. Same-store sales growth in the industry has shrunk steadily over the past four quarters and likely “will continue to decelerate,” according to Thomson Reuters.
Quick-service establishments saw a 1.6% boost over the first quarter, down from the 7.5% upswing a year earlier, according to the estimates. Starbucks, with a 6% increase, had the strongest comparisons in the group, but still missed its 8% mark from the first quarter of 2012.