Atlanta Restaurants Continue Growth in Q1

Robert Wagner

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Atlanta Q1 2015 restaurant sales volume increased 5.5% over Q1 2014. For the quarter ended March 2015 positive sales gains were reported at 71% of the 103 independent Atlanta restaurants surveyed.

National Trends
In its survey of national restaurant sales Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic-tracking company, reported national restaurant Q1 revenues increased 2.8% which was the best quarter for the national restaurant industry since the recession. Black Box reported that in Q1 same-store traffic declined -0.6% compared to Q1 2014.

Robert Wagner, NetFinancials president states that, “Q1 2015 was the 17th straight quarter that our sales survey disclosed positive sales growth at Atlanta restaurants. There were a couple of offsetting developments in Q1. First, sales in 2015 were going up against a quarter (Q1 2014) with significant weather challenges. So we expected the 2015 sales to show favorably. Alternatively, in Q1 new restaurants opened in Atlanta, particularly at Krog Street Market and Buckhead Atlanta. By definition, new restaurants are not included in our survey. However, they can negatively impact sales trends at existing restaurants. These competing trends appear to have canceled each other producing a routine, respectable positive-comp-sales trend of 5.5% for Q1 2015.”

2015 Comp Sales
Q1 Atlanta= 5.5%
Q1 National= 2.8%

Atlanta’s improved restaurant sales were due to favorable demographics, strong Atlanta visitor traffic and positive economic activity. The metro Atlanta unemployment rate declined to 5.9% in March. Last March the Atlanta unemployment rate was 6.8%.

The Sample: The 103 independently-operated, non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total survey sales volume was $69 million for the quarter. The survey includes restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments opened at least 15 months.

Robert Wagner, CPA is president of NetFinancials, Inc. which provides a full range of tax and accounting services for restaurant companies.