Atlanta Q4 2015 restaurant sales volume grew a modest .8% over Q4 2014. For the quarter ended December 2015 positive sales gains were reported at 64% of the 104 independent Atlanta restaurants surveyed. For the full year 2015 Atlanta restaurant sales were up 2% over the year ended December 2014. Fully 71% of stores reported positive sales for 2015.
National Trends: In its survey of national restaurant sales Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic-tracking company, reported national restaurant Q4 revenues increased just .4%. Black Box reported that nationally full year 2015 same-store sales increased 1.6% compared to 2014.
Conclusion: Robert Wagner, NetFinancials president states that, “Our survey measures sales activity only at established Atlanta restaurants open for two years or more which explains the modest sales growth in Q4. Established Atlanta restaurants started 2015 with strong comp sales in Q1 (5.5%) but then comp sales dropped off the table. Restaurants experienced less-than-1% sales comps in Q3 and Q4 2015. The Atlanta sales slowdown is not a complete surprise since hundreds of new restaurant seats came on-stream during 2015. The robust job growth that Atlanta experienced in Q3 and Q4 2015 typically would translate directly into more restaurant customers and higher sales comps. But the addition of so many new dining possibilities has meant strong headwinds for existing restaurant operators which led to modest sales gains. The Atlanta restaurant industry is going through an absorption phase. Once the supply of new restaurant offerings is absorbed and equilibrium is again reached, established Atlanta restaurants will see better comp sales. Clearly even modest Atlanta comp sales growth for Q4 was better than the national trend of .4% but the national sales trend was directly impacted by an employment crisis in the Oil Patch due to collapsing crude prices – not the case in Atlanta’s economy. ”
Q4 Atlanta Q4 National YTD Atlanta YTD National
2015 Comp Sales .8% .4% 2.0% 1.6%
Atlanta’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.9% in December (from 6.0% in December 2014). The positive unemployment trend, plus new city residents and abundant business visitors were not enough to offset a wave of new restaurant openings over the last 12 months.
The Sample: The 104 non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total survey sales volume was $285 million for the 2015 year. The survey includes restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments opened at least 24 months.