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Less Guests but More Sales: the Restaurant Industry in June 2021


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Black Box Financial Intelligence, a leading data and insights provider of the hospitality industry, conducted a Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot last month. This snapshot encompasses over 190 brands, who are tracked for their benchmark customer satisfaction, using 6 key metrics: food, service, ambiance, beverage, value and intent to return. 

According to Black Box’s findings, restaurant industry sales essentially recovered to pre-pandemic levels in June. Restaurants raked in their 4th consecutive month of same-store sales growth and are generally performing better than they were in 2019. This being said, multiple negative trends are underpinning this finding. For one, guest counts have been declining despite high check growth; this trend reaffirms that the industry is nowhere near fully-recovered. Additionally, posts and reviews about food were increasingly positive since the start of 2021, however June did not see the same; Black Box points to understaffing and food shortages as the culprits. Lastly, posts and reviews about service also dropped in June compared to the months preceding it. 

Black Box also took a closer look at which metrics hold more weight in the restaurant experience. According to their findings, food was the attribute that “drove the biggest gap in guest net sentiment during the quarter.” Following was service, which had the “biggest gap in net sentiment versus the full-service median.” Lastly was ambiance, which “drove the second-largest gap for top performers in full-service;” interestingly, Black Box noted that ambiance has come to represent cleanliness, which explains its growth in importance during the pandemic. Following these attributes were intent to return and value. 

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