U.S. Restaurant Visits Decline After Three Straight Positive Quarters

Steakhouses cover

Photo: DiscoverDuPage via Flickr

The NPD group just released its latest reading on US restaurant industry traffic for April to June.  While, the data is dated, it offers a comprehensive look at the industry which can be more useful than the anecdotal reports.Overall, consumers spent 1.5% more eating out at restaurants.  However, the gains were due to higher average checks, which rose 1.8%.  Traffic fell 0.4%, the first year-over-year decline in a year.

“The consumer demand in the prior three quarters wasn’t strong enough to overcome another bump in unemployment, rising gas and commodity prices, and low consumer confidence,” said NPD Group’s Bonnie Riggs.

Visits to fast-food restaurants were flat. Traffic to midscale and casual dining restaurants fell 4% and 2%, respectively.

One bright spot: fine dining.  Fine dining destinations experience year-over-year traffic growth in each of the past four quarters.

NPD group q2 restaurant sales traffic

Photo: NPD Group

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