Industry News | January 22, 2009

Quick-Service Restaurants Prevail Despite Weak Economy

2008 was a tough year for restaurant operators. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008 -- the worst figure since 1945. With consumer sentiment at historical lows, retail sales in December 2008 were down 9.8 percent from December 2007. Meanwhile, the outlook released last week by the International Council of Shopping Centers calls for a 6.1 percent decline in total retail sales during the first six months of 2009.

Many quick-service restaurant chains and franchisees, however, have posted impressive sales growth.

McDonald’s corporation reported 7.7 percent comparable-store sales growth in November. Burger King and Yum Brands’ business units Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have also posted strong growth. Based on conversations with several multi-unit Taco Bell franchisees using JobApp Network’s hiring management system, many units experienced 8-10 percent increases in comparable-store sales for 2008.

Rodney Walker, the president and co-owner of 42 Taco Bell and KFC restaurants in Michigan, says, “while comparable-store sales are up significantly, we always focus on the fundamentals. Rain or sunshine, recession or economic exuberance, we have always believed that the key to multi-unit success is people, people, and people.”

Rodney found the JobApp Network hiring management system for franchisees helpful for getting the right people after trying it last year. He has now signed a multi-year contract for all of his restaurants.