Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants look forward to Black Friday

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants look forward to Black Friday https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/blackfriday2015-768x198.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Black Friday is always a big deal for retailers and the restaurants that are there to take advantage of those great first-day-after Thanksgiving deals that kick off the winter holiday season.

Many restaurants are looking forward to this day with bated breath. Others are cautiously optimistic, but any restaurant – especially those near major retail outlets – are taking it into account.

“We’re in an interesting location,” Andy Kim, owner of Pacific Southern, a new restaurant in Tacoma, told the WRA’s DineNW radio show. “We’re right across the street from the post office by the Tacoma Mall, which is a huge attraction for shoppers. Hopefully, the word will get out there and we’ll get a lot of traffic and shoppers during the holiday season. We’re looking forward to that.”

The 2015 holiday season, however, may not live up to expectations for restaurant operators in spite of positive macroeconomic indicators as the season approaches, according to industry watchers.

2015’s fourth quarter opened with a “choppy” October. Same-store sales dropped by 0.2 percent, according to Black Box Intelligence data, breaking a 14-month streak of restaurant industry growth.

Nevertheless, there are many reasons to be optimistic about Black Friday.

In October, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent, half of what it was during the worst of the Great Recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regular gasoline sold for an average of $2.21 on Tuesday, down from $2.93, in November 2014 – the lowest price since 2006, according to the American Automobile Association.