This month we look at: green onion costs, the latest inflation updates, how the upcoming time change could impact your restaurant and national restaurant sales trends from September.
I don’t know about you but I can’t believe it’s October already. I was taking a look at turkey prices in advance of Thanksgiving and it looks like prices will be dropping for those of you with turkey on any upcoming menus.
We have a lot to cover, so I am going to keep the intro short. I know this newsletter is a long read, and I want to say thank you for reading The Board every month.
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- Tracy & the MarginEdge team
MONTHLY SALES METRICS & UPDATE
Fast Casual beat out Full Service once again, with sales ending equal to September 2022's numbers and Full Service ending not far behind at -1%. Both segments saw a strong positive trajectory during the last week, with Full Service sales increasing 5%.
Food, beer, wine and liquor average category costs as a percentage of sales decreased from last month for MarginEdge customers in September, with food costs averaging 28% of sales.
Whether you call it a scallion, green onion, or even “onion, green” we saw a really big spike in those prices compared to last month. I don’t know too much about onion farming, but we did notice the prices of yellow, red and white onions were down quite a bit percentage-wise compared to their less colorful counterparts. Digging in, most green onions are from California or Mexico while most of the yellow, red and white onions are produced across Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California.
Regional supplier Hillcrest Foodservice reports “Due to Hurricane Hilary's heavy rains and the recent extreme heat in Mexicali, green onions are in short supply and of poor quality. This market will rise as supplies tighten. For the next three to four weeks, supplies are expected to remain tight.” Weekly prices are bouncing up and down up to 28% so expect volatility to continue.
Oak & Ola | Tampa, FL
ASK [me] ANYTHING
Tipping is getting so complicated! I have been sticking to cash, but should I go digital?
We completely agree, especially in the last couple of years restaurants have been navigating in a cashless sea. With over 80% of restaurant revenue from card payments, and digital tipping averages 11% higher than cash there are plenty of reasons you should consider a switch.
Paying out tips in cash in 2023 might mean a bank run.
We all make math errors, counting cash at the end of a shift might be more prone to error.
As a technology company, we are biased to digital solutions. Options you can consider: adding tips through payroll, digital payment cards, or depositing tips to the employee’s bank account.
Ask [me] anything! Really. Each month we’ll take a look at the questions we get and answer one here. Have a question about our product, accounting or restaurant operations in general? Email me or message us on our social media channels.
Food away from home (restaurants) inflation was up 0.4% compared to last month with the food at home (grocery) up only 0.1% since August. Checking in with our CEO, he noted that continued inflation and recessionary concerns may be taking a bite out of consumer spending on fine dining. The National Restaurant Association has more details onfull service versus limited servicemenu price changes.
Spooky season has a couple of things brewing to keep an eye on. Federal student loan payments restarted a couple of weeks ago, with43.6 million outstanding loansaveraging over $35,000. Interest rates acrossmortgagesandcredit cardsare up, these two could have a negative impact as we get into the holiday season.
L'Opossum | Richmond, VA
'TIS THE SEASON
The post on X by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer has created quite the buzz. Are folks dining earlier? One of my favorite data sources, Placer.AI dove right in to check out the question. Based on their treasure trove of location data, they do indeed see this trend in the fine dining space. Reasons for this shift include more people working at home and ready to log off once 5 p.m. hits and what’s coined as the “Netflix effect” as people have an endless supply of home entertainment.
Corroborating this trend, from June to September, SpotOn saw a 3.28% decrease in the number of orders placed and a 2.76% decrease in total spending between 4 and 7 p.m. Are you seeing a shift in traffic to earlier in the evening?
What's [me] into
✈️ WHERE WE'RE GOING
QuickBooks Connect (November 13-15, Las Vegas) - We are at again this year as a bronze sponsor for the largest (and most fun) gathering of finance professionals.
7 Signs It’s Time to Reassess Your Tech Stack - Speaking with hundreds of operators, we’ve heard over and over folks saddled with complicated systems and locked into long contracts. 2023 is the year for right-sizing your stack.
How 6 p.m. Became the New 8 p.m. - More press coverage on the recent shift in dining times, possible reasons behind the move, and how breakfast is becoming the new early lunch.
Are Diners Souring on Plant-Based Meat?- If you hopped in on the plant-based meat analog trend, recent volatility in the grocery store sales of these products may have you taking a second look at your menu.
🎧 PODCASTS WE'RE DIGGING
Restaurant Owners Uncorked- With over a half million downloads, successful independent restaurant owners share their stories, advice, wisdom, and lessons learned. Host Will Brawley recommends starting with episode 502.
Best Served- Chef Jensen Cummings takes a step back from the minutiae of working in the trenches to look at the reasons why we are a part of the hospitality industry and the people we serve.