Ohio Restaurant Sales Up 4.4 Percent In First Quarter


COLUMBUS — The Ohio Restaurant Association reported continued healthy growth during the first quarter of the year upon completion of a recent survey of restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across the state.

Same-store sales trends for the first quarter of the year grew an average of 4.4 percent, the survey found. Although sales were slightly weaker than those of the previous quarter, guest counts increased 3.9 percent for the quarter.

The association, in conjunction with the Cleveland Research Co., surveyed more than 60 companies and 700 locations across the Buckeye State.

The report also noted that food and labor costs as a percent of total sales are steadily on the rise. Food was 29.1 percent in the first quarter, up .2 percent from the fourth quarter, while labor was 30 percent of costs, rising from 29.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

The survey found that as delivery sales become a greater portion of overall restaurant sales, operators are focused on delivery quality control. Delivery sales rose from 7.0 percent in 2018 to 8.6 percent in 2019.

“Delivery continues to be a driving force in restaurant sales,” said association President and CEO John Barker. “More and more consumers are demanding that delivery be an option in their dining decisions. We believe many segments of the industry are growing incremental sales with delivery.”

Owners expect delivery to be 18.5 percent of total sales in the next five to 10 years, the report found.

The state’s restaurant and foodservice industry is the third-largest private-sector employer and represents $24.2 billion in annual economic activity, according to ORA.