As this year progressed, the rate of the year-over-year declines have eased. This latest information hints that further improvements may be yet to come.
It will be interesting to see how restaurant sales fare going forward. NPD expects restaurant sales to head into positive terrority in the fiscal fourth quarter of this year.
But Riggs, said it will be a long, tough road back. She projects that sales will only grow 1 percent for the next year or so. "This means it will take a year or longer to get back where we were before the recession," she said.
In the meantime, she expects that battle for market share to continue.
Throughout the downturn, restaurant chain operators such as Darden Restaurants , the operator of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and other chains, and Ruby Tuesday have been waging a fierce war. Some chains have offered customers steep discounts to lure them in the door, while others, such as Darden, have hosted special events or served limited-time specials, to tempt diners.
The recent gains in traffic have benefited quick-service chains such as McDonald's and family-style chains such as DineEquity's IHOP the most.
According to Riggs, many of the family-style chains have been promoting "kids eat free" deals, and that may have helped drive in more customers.Page 2 of 3 | Prev Page | Next Page