Plummeting in-person dining leads consumers to take-out and delivery
Yesterday, Darden Restaurants (DRI), owner of popular chains Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, pre-announced that same-store-sales (SSS) were down 39% for the quarter thus far. Though a sharp drop shouldn’t be surprising, the fact that 99% of stores remain open and offsite/to-go orders are doubling or tripling at certain chains could point to signs of hope.
Wingstop (WING), who’s sales are 80% comprised of delivery/takeout in normal times, have further promoted free deliveries, which led to 9% domestic SSS growth at the end of March. In addition average ticket sizes have grown as meals are primarily being fulfilled for full families.
Finally, companies are moving to expand their off-premise reach as far as possible. Burger chain Shake Shack (SHAK), facing a nearly 30% decline in SSS, added 5 delivery partners to its network, including UberEats and Postmates.
Though it remains to be seen what the future of dining in restaurants might look like, prominent voices warn that simply take-out cannot save the industry:
We’re following all these moves closely here: COVID-19 Tracker.