Ohio restaurants expect good things now, better next year
How's the restaurant business in the Buckeye State? Turns out, pretty good, according to the Ohio Restaurant Association, which recently worked with Cleveland Research Co. to survey state operators from more than 70 companies at 175-plus stores, a news release said.
Same-store sales trends for the most recent quarter (May through July) grew an average of 2.7 percent with 2.2 percent driven by customer traffic. Sales were stronger than the previous quarter (January through March), which was up 1.5 percent.
Operators in Ohio are optimistic about trends improving and expect same-store sales to expand at a slightly stronger pace for the full year in 2018, up 3.5 percent, and up 3.6 percent in 2019.
"Restauranteurs in our survey represent an array of formats including casual dining, quick-service, fine dining, fast casual, family, pubs, bars and coffee shops, so their optimism reflects a robust economy, confident consumers and a strong foodservice industry in Ohio," ORA President and CEO John Barker, said.
"Certain categories are performing better than others. For example, fine dining, with higher average check, is growing strongly and many brands in quick-service continue to produce sales growth.
"In all categories, consumers are gravitating to restaurant operators that offer strikingly superior hospitality, a relevant and evolving brand, and a distinct culinary and value proposition. There's also a growing trend by consumers to prefer concepts with a smart digital footprint that includes social media, a loyalty program, online ordering and delivery."
The survey also found that online ordering is offered at 37 percent of Ohio's restaurants, and 31 percent more expect to offer it within the next year. Additionally, 35 percent of restaurants offer delivery now, with 59 percent of that number managing their own delivery processes. Among those which use third-party delivery providers, UberEats is the most popular, followed by DoorDash, Amazon Restaurants, Grubhub and Postmates in Ohio.
"Operators are focused on the impact of technology, including online ordering and delivery because of growth in the marketplace," said Barker. "More than 40 percent of them expect digital ordering to make up a majority of their sales in three to five years, and many larger brands are rapidly developing and implementing online ordering, kiosks, table-top devices, loyalty programs and more."
The 100-year-old Ohio Restaurant Association promotes and supports the state's $20.9 billion foodservice industry, with 22,023 locations and more than 583,900 employees.