Same Store Sales Trends
Sales Continue to Improve as Capacity Trends Higher
- Almost half of all $1B+ chain locations now enjoy 100% dining capacity as restrictions continue to ease over time.
- According to Darden, those restaurants that had some level of dining capacity (50% system average) for the entire quarter (recently reported) generated weekly sales which were 80% of last year’s levels.
- It is notable that changing COVID levels have not impacted market demand according to Darden, reflecting consumer resiliency.
- Contact RR for how to purchase a spreadsheet of state exposure by chain.
- The latest available government data shows foodservice sales steadily gaining ground on grocery stores as dine-in capacity continues to trend higher across the country.
- Notably, the CPI for QSR exceeded the CPI for food at home in August for the first time since March as drive-thrus enjoy greater price inelasticity post-lockdown.
Promotional Price Points are Ramping Higher
- Average value promotional price point increased for both QSR & FSR.
- More chains (especially FSR) are offering free delivery (25% of the $1B+ Chains in September offered free delivery versus 9% last month).
- Menu innovation picked-up in the QSR hamburger segment.
Economy Doing Well with 2nd Stimulus Coming
- Notably, Darden recently reported that the stimulus fall-off has not impacted weekly sales which have steadily improved across its system.
- In any case, expectations for a sharp ramp-up in sequential growth for the GDPNow model reflects continued expectations for increasing growth in both real personal consumption expenditure and real gross private domestic investment.
- Consumer confidence increased sharply in September to its highest level since March.
- Negotiations for a 2nd round of government stimulus benefits are still in the works although timing and content is uncertain.
Key Cost Trends & Forecasts
Commodity Prices Continue to Ramp-up
- The BLS Foodstuffs Index continues to rebound (+5.2% in September) with pork, chicken wings & potatoes at LTM highs while ground beef prices continue to fall to another LTM low ($1.35/lb.)
- Block cheese prices remain volatile (+14.1% & approaching recent highs).
- Labor trends are stabilizing.
Franchisee EBITDA Valuations
Supply Expected to Ramp-Up
- QSR valuations are holding steady with strong demand for Sonic and pizza chain deals (Papa John’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut & Little Caesars).
- Notably, an Applebee’s franchisee portfolio was reported to have traded close to the real estate value.
- Lending market remains conservative.
- Notably, more sellers and franchisors have surfaced asking for valuations, indicating there will be a strong supply of sellers coming to market in the next 6 months.
RR Index Slightly Out-Performs in a Down Month
- The RR Index slightly out-performed the S&P 500 in an otherwise down month as investors continue to favor QSR. There was some rotation out of recent high flyers (Papa John’s & Wingstop) as investors locked in profits.