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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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The Numbers

Let’s put it this way: restaurants are getting mixed reviews – at least when it comes to how their business is faring in the up-and-down recovery. According to a report from Black Box Intelligence, same-store sales were up by 0.6 percent nationwide in April, as was the Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index, which grew by 3 points to a score of 95. The Dallas dining research firm predicted continued growth for May. However, national store traffic was down by about 1.1 percent compared to the same month last year. In other words, restaurant-goers are spending more per check, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more consumers are eating out. Jerry Prendergast, restaurant consultant with Prendergast & Associates in Culver City, said another metric indicates that Valley restaurant sales are mirroring those trends. Liquor licenses are rising in price in Los Angeles County, a strong indicator that fewer restaurants are going out of business, because the only way to purchase a full license is through a merchant no longer utilizing one. Liquor licenses for restaurants, on average, currently cost about $70,000, up from about $40,000 or so six months ago, according to Art Rodriguez & Associates, an alcoholic beverage licensing company in Pasadena. “To me that says ‘I’m in a good market.’ The restaurants are doing well. They’re doing enough sales to stay in business,” said Prendergast, who noted that among his clients check averages have bumped up 5 to 10 percent in the past year. “That tells me the people who have jobs, who own homes, who have some established situation are feeling more secure in that situation, so they’re spending more,” he said. “But the number of people coming through the door is not up.” – Stephanie Forshee

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