January 2019 was the toughest month for DC area restaurants in the past few months – with sit-down locations taking a bigger hit than fast casual dining. Overall sales combined were down nearly 3.5%, year-over-year, the worst overall performance in six months. Full-service sales were the big contributor to the drop, with January 2019 down nearly 4% compared to a year ago, and average 12-month trailing sales down just over 2%. Fast casual sales for the same 12-month period, on the other hand, were only down 0.5% – good news in a tight market.
Although it wasn’t one of the snowiest Januaries, it was the wettest on record, with the National Weather Service recording nearly nine inches of precipitation – combine that with an extended government shutdown, and there were tough headwinds in the nation’s capital.
About these metrics: The MarginEdge monthly snapshot of DC Metro restaurant sales is based on a sampling of 100+ area restaurants ranging from fast-casual to full-service.