Pope's Visit Not a Miracle for Restaurants
Pope's Visit Not a Miracle for Restaurants

Cosi reports that America's brush with papal greatness dented store sales.

 neneo / Shutterstock.com photo
The pope has the power to move millions, but he didn't do much to help restaurant sales during his recent visit to the U.S., it seems. 

Pope Francis’ visit late last month to New York, Washington and Philadelphia was thrilling for many, but not for some of those cities’ restaurant owners.

Cosi Inc. on Wednesday said that its systemwide same-store sales in September fell 3.6 percent, and 0.3 percent for the third quarter ended Sept. 28. Same-store sales fell 4.5 percent in September at company-owned locations, and 0.3 percent for the quarter.

“Business interruptions resulting from the Pope’s visit” was listed by the company as one of the reasons for the drop. The pope’s visit adversely affected 30 percent of the chain’s 79 company-owned locations. The company has 30 franchise locations. Parts of the cities were blocked off for periods to accommodate the pontiff's travel plans, making it difficult for restaurant patrons to reach their favorite businesses. 
Others also reported devilish results. Restaurateur David Chang tweeted that the pope was a “restaurant cooler on par with the Super Bowl and the Oscars.” Other restaurants also groused that sales slipped during the pontiff's visit. 
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