Economic recovery is happening, at least in coffee and chicken sandwich sectors

Image for article titled Economic recovery is happening, at least in coffee and chicken sandwich sectors
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado (Getty Images), Image: KFC (Getty Images)

After a year of economic doom and gloom, there is finally hope! Both Starbucks and KFC are reporting profitable first quarters for 2021. So this either means economic recovery for everyone is coming, or just that Americans cannot live without coffee and chicken sandwiches.

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Starbucks reported a 9% same-store sales growth for the most recent quarter, which ended March 28. This is a considerable improvement over the same quarter last year, Nation’s Restaurant News notes, which saw a -5% decline, and it fulfilled a prediction by CEO Kevin Johnson that the chain would be fully recovered by the end of the quarter.

Starbucks saw not just an increase in customers but a 21% increase in ticket size, meaning not only were more people coming in, they were ordering more. Online sales were also up, and so was the Starbucks rewards program. International sales also went up by 35%, including a 91% same-store sales increase in China, the chain’s second-largest market. “Our strong results validate our ability to adapt to changes in our environment and the needs of our customers,” Johnson congratulated himself in a statement.

Meanwhile, over in chicken-land, KFC reported an 11% increase in sales in the first quarter over 2019 (apparently 2020 is the Year That Shall Not Be Discussed), largely due to its new chicken sandwich. “Our sandwich is performing at more than twice the volumes of our prior US sandwich launches,” Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs said in an analyst call.

But have no fear, chicken fans: despite a worldwide chicken shortage, a KFC spokesperson assured CNN that the chain is in no danger of running out of its supply—unlike a certain other chicken chain that launched a very successful chicken sandwich in 2019. ““We are working very closely with our supply partners to ensure we can continue to meet that demand,” the spokesperson said.

Whew! I feel so much better now!

DISCUSSION

By
Dr Emilio Lizardo

Meanwhile, over in chicken-land, KFC reported an 11% increase in sales in the first quarter over 2019 (apparently 2020 is the Year That Shall Not Be Discussed)

It really shouldn’t be discussed in this context, especially for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters. I mean, if a restaurant or any service business posts huge gains over the same quarter in 2020, nobody should be impressed by that. All it means is that you didn’t go out of business and are still around. 2019 is a much better comparison and any company that crows about gains over 2020 should be suspect.