News Release: Ohio Restaurant Sales Trends Promising, Operators Optimistic About 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Mar. 19, 2018) – The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and Cleveland Research Company recently completed a new survey of a wide range of restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across Ohio, representing more than 125 companies and over $1 billion in total sales.

From a sales perspective, ORA members who participated in this study expect a positive growth of 4.4% in same-store sales in 2018, better than the 3.1% average same-store sales posted in Ohio during 2017.

This positive view was supported recently when Technomic reported sales across the U.S. surged 6.3% in January. The Technomic Chain Restaurant Index showed the largest restaurant chains increased the momentum they gained late in 2017. The increase included +3.7% in traffic, as consumers continued to dine out more often.

"The combination of higher wages and lower unemployment across the U.S., plus better consumer confidence, overcame weather challenges in January. This improving trend was not the same across all segments of the restaurant industry, though, as certain categories grew strongly, such as quick service and fast casual, and others struggled. New restaurants continue to open and pressure customer traffic at existing locations," said ORA President and CEO John Barker.

This follows a good fourth quarter of 2017 when ORA members said same-store sales in Ohio were up an average 3.4%, including 2.8% traffic. This was one point better than sales in the third quarter of 2017.

Looking ahead, 50% of ORA members expect a benefit to their business from the tax rate reductions.

Regarding Amazon, 44% of ORA members that responded are buying supplies from the online shopping giant, up from 39% in 2017. The key reasons: convenience, price and delivery speed.

"Amazon is a strong business force and disruptor with vast product array and delivery, and requires restaurant owners to evolve in ways they never imagined," Barker said.

About the Ohio Restaurant Association

For nearly 100 years, The Ohio Restaurant Association is the leading business trade association promoting, protecting and partnering with Ohio’s $20.9 billion restaurant and foodservice industry. The ORA represents the third-largest private sector employer in the state, including 22,000 locations and more than 575,000 employees, and helps members build customer loyalty, rewarding careers and financial success with a range of services and thought leadership. For more information, visit