Restaurant sales dropped in week ahead of U.S. vote: Knapp

November 23, 2016 6:29 PM EST

Men great each other before the start of the U.S. presidential debate at a restaurant in the Queens borough of New York City, September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. full-service chains such as Olive Garden (NYSE: DRI), Applebee's (NYSE: DIN) and Chili's (NYSE: EAT) saw a steep, 5.1 percent drop in sales at established restaurants during the week prior to the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, data showed on Wednesday.

While limited in scope, the data appears to back restaurant executives' claims that the tense and tumultuous U.S. election dented their business.

"Sales were down seriously around the country," for the week ending Nov. 6, said Malcolm Knapp, a restaurant consultant whose Knapp-Track service monitors restaurant sales and guest counts.

"The uncertainty was sky-high," he said, adding that full-service same-restaurant sales had been down slightly for the week ended Oct. 30.

The same-store sales decline eased to 1.4 percent for the week of the election, Knapp said. The gyrations at high-end steak houses were even more exaggerated, he said.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Chris Reese)

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