After two years of COVID-related limitations on indoor dining, one segment of the restaurant industry is surpassing pre-pandemic traffic figures: steakhouses.
That’s according to a recent report from location analytics firm Placer.ai, which reported growth for the likes of LongHorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, The Capital Grille, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and Colton’s Steak House and Grill.
Continued Growth for LongHorn, Texas Roadhouse
Placer.ai said LongHorn Steakhouse posted an 11.1% increase in December 2021 visits when compared to the same month in 2019. Additionally, the company saw minimal dips in January and February 2022 when compared to two years earlier amid the Omicron-downturn which plagued the rest of the industry.
Texas Roadhouse posted an even more impressive number for December, with visits increasing 14.9% when compared to December 2019. Additionally, this increased number of visits is helping with the bottom line, as the chain surpassed analysts’ earning estimates for three quarters in 2021.
Placer.ai noted that the easing of the Omicron wave would boost indoor dining capacity, and that nicer weather could expand options for outdoor seating. Both companies are well positioned to continue growing based on these factors.
Smaller Operations Also Grow
Texas Roadhouse and LongHorn Steakhouse each have more than 500 locations, but Placer.ai noted smaller contenders in the foodservice vertical were also showing continued growth.
Average weekly visits were on the rise in December 2021 for The Capital Grill (+12.4%), Firebirds Wood Fired Grill (+14.4%), and Colton’s Steak House & Grill (+19.2%) when compared to December 2019. Additionally, all three chains posted consistent increases in visitors when comparing fourth quarter 2021 and fourth quarter 2020.
Overall, traffic at restaurants has been down when compared to the pre-pandemic period, according to Black Box Intelligence. In recent report, the organization reported comparable traffic for the restaurant industry was down 13.8% year-over-year in February.
“Although restaurants remain far from surpassing their guest count before the pandemic hit two years ago, traffic growth improved more than sales compared to the previous week,” the report said.
Swifter Omicron Recovery
The steakhouse chains were not immune from the Omicron-related downturn encountered by the industry at the beginning of 2022, but all had returned to visit growth by mid-February.
“These chains’ impressive foot traffic numbers show that despite the difficult circumstances, some sit-down chains have managed to not only weather the storm but maintain impressive growth,” read the Placer.ai report.