Schumacher on ATL restaurant sales trends

ATL Food Chatter: August 23, 2010
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“The bleeding has stopped.” That is a synopsis of Atlanta’s restaurant market by Harold Schumacher, president of the Schumacher Group, an Atlanta based real estate company that specializes in restaurants. In his remarks at a recent real estate conference held with Databank, a firm that tracks trends, the veteran restaurant-scene observer shared some of his other observations regarding the market conditions for Atlanta’s restaurants.

Schumacher says that, from what he has gleaned anecdotally, inside-the-perimeter restaurant sales are on an uptick, while in the suburbs they remain flat. And sales seem to be improving from last year, with increases in the five to ten percent range year-to date, though they lag behind the pace of two years ago. Core markets such as Midtown, Buckhead and “Perimeter” areas such as Dunwoody remain strong, according to Schumacher, with rental rates holding steady. He says that new restaurants continue to open but mainly in the suburbs and with fast-casual concepts—sandwiches, burgers, burritos and pita places, pizza, and frozen yogurt.

He also mentioned the well-documented wave of Asian restaurants (Korean and Japanese leading the way) expanding further into the northern suburbs, especially in the Duluth and Suwanee areas. Finally, Schumacher says that in the higher price segment, there are some major upscale chains (he won’t name names, but think national steakhouses) looking at opportunities here in Atlanta. They’re being very deliberate in their decision making process, however, and we likely won’t hear any announcements of note until year’s end.


The day’s big topic of conversation: Kessler returns to the critic’s seat!

Miller Union was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants for 2010 by Bon Appetit magazine.

Serious Eats waxes rhapsodically about the Holeman & Finch burger.

The AJC ran an interesting story on the growing presence of craft spirits distilleries in Georgia.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Atlanta is one of the twelve national markets where Starbucks will roll out their ultra premium “reserve” coffee on August 31.

Buckhead. Thrillist reports that Sakura Stix, a combination sushi and hibachi spot, has opened at 857 Collier Road.

What Now Atlanta notes that the Norcross-based Saigon Group is planning on opening its second Saigon Cafe store in the former Mama Fu’s location at 1935 Peachtree Road this fall.

Foodie Buddha is reporting that Billy Jack’s Bar-B-Q & Shrimp Co. has opened at 857 Collier Road.

Cumberland. The AJC mentions that a branch of St. Charles Deli has opened a Cobb County store at 380 Interstate North.

Downtown. Decatur Metro is reporting that Relics & Rarities, the Ice Cream Parlor and antique car gallery, is moving to Underground Atlanta and slated to open by October.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Legacy Properties is launching Der Biergarten, a German restaurant and beer garden, at 300 Marietta Street on September 18.

Midtown.As Bill Addison twittered earlier today, Gary Mennie is leaving his post as executive chef of the Georgian Terrace’s Livingston to assume responsibility of food programs at Woodruff Arts Center. The hotel owners are reportedly interviewing other pedigreed chefs in Atlanta to replace Mennie.

According to a Concentrics press release, Bakeshop is no longer a Concentrics restaurant and will operate under the management of founder/owner Jonathan St. Hilaire.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Piedmont Park will host the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, Saturday August 28th.

Creative Loafing first reported that Intown Farmer’s Market has opened at 563 Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Westside. What Now Atlanta is reporting that King Falafel, featuring
Mediterranean fare, is planning to open at 420 14th Street NW, this fall.
Question of the Week: What former Atlanta superchef is now a VP at an Atlanta-based food services consultant firm?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What downtown hotel restaurant has changed its name and management?—is 30 Tables in the Glenn Hotel, which is now Glenn’s Kitchen.