Utahns love to eat out, according to a report on the restaurant industry.
In Womply’s recent State of Restaurants Report, Utah ranks sixth nationally for consumer spending at small, independent restaurants, with local eateries bringing in an average of $64,693 each month.
For the report, Womply analyzed daily revenue for 25,893 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for all 365 days of the 2017 calendar year. Restaurants qualified for the analysis only if Womply had a full year of transaction history and the business recorded multiple transactions per day. The Womply team looked only at small, independent restaurants across America. Fast food or chain establishments were not included.
Brad Plothow, Womply’s head of communications, said the findings on Utah restaurants show that the state is home to successful independent eateries, and residents enjoy frequenting them. Utah’s average daily transactions, ticket sizes (or how much was ordered) and sales revenues percentages were higher than the national average.
As a whole, though, Utah posted some unique data compared to the nation.
In most states, Sunday sales are a significant portion of a restaurant’s revenue, posting 15 percent of its average weekly intake. But in Utah, very few Utahns eat out on Sundays. Restaurants that are open on Sunday only earn 6 percent of their weekly revenue from Sunday. The majority of Utah restaurants’ revenue comes from Friday and Saturday, hitting 18 and 24 percent respectively, with the other weekdays averaging around 13 percent.
“You can definitely see the cultural dynamic playing out in the sales trends in Utah,” Plothow said.
There are a few exceptions to this, and Don Chuy’s Taco Shop in Payson, might be one. Maritza Garibay, owner of Don Chuy’s, said the Payson restaurant does very well on Sundays. But she believes it’s related to the location. A family member owns the Provo Don Chuy’s Taco Shop, and it very much follows the Womply data.
“The Provo one, it’s completely dead on Sundays,” Garibay said. “It really depends on where you are in the county.”
Following this data trend, Womply’s analysis found that Mother’s Day — the single highest revenue-generating day for restaurants nationwide — is a very poor day for Utah eateries. In Utah, Mother’s Day ranks as the 298th day out of 365 days in a year. Plothow said for Utah, the Saturdays bracketing Mother’s Day make up for this, though, and are some of the highest performing for Utah food establishments. Father’s Day also bucks the national trend, landing at the 317th day for Utah, as compared to No. 53 for the nation.
“Sunday really has a force field around it,” Plothow said. “We see people proxying Mother’s Day on days other than Sunday.”
Utah’s best single days for sales revenue are Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Saturday before each holiday and the Saturday nearest Valentine’s Day.
Utah also goes against the national trend in its seasonality. Plothow explained that, nationally, the restaurant industry is very predictable, and does not experience major slow seasons. Utah is unique in that around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Utah average sales revenue dips, while the rest of the nation stays the same. Surprisingly, Utah posts higher sales revenue percentages in the summer months than the national average, which seems to combat that winter dip.
“We’re not really sure what to make of that,” Plothow said. “Utah was one of the most interesting states for us to analyze.”
Mike Keim, owner of Teriyaki Grill, said he sees a small sampling of that seasonality play out at his eight locations, two of which are in Utah County. But even in those winter months, he said the dips never go very low. He does not have a “slow season.”
“Things are pretty steady all year long. Throughout the course of the year, my sales don’t fluctuate more than 10 percent in any given month,” he said.
Overall, Womply’s research, which the Lehi company undertook to better serve its customers — all of which are small to medium independent “main street commerce” businesses — show that Utah is a great place for the restaurant industry.
“The word’s out that Utah is the place to eat,” Plothow said.
Karissa Neely reports on Business and North County events, and can be reached at 801-344-2537 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely