The publicly traded fast casuals turned in a strong Q3 in regards to same-store sales, recording a 2 percent uptick. Fiesta Restaurant Group’s Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana did some heavy lifting. Both were riding rebrands and lapping a very difficult 2017. They also invested in higher-quality offerings and added price in favor of promotional discounts. The Q3 gain at Taco Cabana consisted of a 12.1 percent increase in average check, inclusive of 7.7 percent in pricing and positive sales mix associated with higher-price promotions and new menu items with higher food costs. At Pollo Tropical, the comps growth comprised of a 5.2 percent increase in average check, inclusive of a 4.9 percent gain in pricing, and a 1.3 percent increase in comparable restaurant transactions.
BDO also noted Wingstop’s strong performance lately, credited in part to innovative digital advertising campaigns and delivery.
Quick service generated 1.2 percent overall same-store sales growth. Delivery played a larger role here as well, especially in regards to Taco Bell and McDonald’s. In Q3, McDonald’s said it currently offers delivery from more than 15,000 restaurants. It expects to reach thousands more by the end of the year, CEO Steve Easterbrook said, including a total of 9,000 in the U.S. In the U.K., Australia, and France, delivery represents as much as 10 percent of sales in restaurants that offer the platform.
The pizza segment slipped a bit, reporting a 0.8 percent decline. The overall performance was softened by the continued struggles at Papa John’s.
Upscale casual achieved 1.4 percent growth, double the performance reported through Q2.