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Americans' Appetites For "Eating Out" Is Soaring
08-18-2018, 03:06 PM,
Americans' Appetites For "Eating Out" Is Soaring
Americans' Appetites For "Eating Out" Is Soaring

<p><strong>Spending at U.S. restaurants surged over the past three months by the most on record.</strong></p>

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<p><a href=""><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a> sales at food-service and drinking establishments rose 1.3% in July to $61.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported this week, <strong>almost catching up to the total spent on buying food and beverages from grocery stores.</strong></p>

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<p>That brought the three-month annualized gain to 25.3 percent, <strong>the fastest pace in figures going back to 1992...</strong></p>

<p><a data-image-external-href="" data-image-href="/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-08-18_8-45-45.jpg?itok=JWgvpJ86" data-link-option="0" href=""><img data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e09b3915-ac2e-495f-a9be-7785e02e6567" data-responsive-image-style="inline_images" height="254" width="500" srcset=" 1x" src="" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /></a></p>

<p>Three major factors may be driving this regime shift in spending:</p>

<p>First, Americans are <strong>eating out more and spending their extra cash from tax cuts</strong> on dining out <em>(consumer confidence is elevated and the fiscal stimulus may be having an effect on the data)</em>;</p>

<p>Second, <strong>major restaurant companies have recently hiked menu prices</strong> to keep up with rising food costs, higher minimum wages, and rent costs <em>(the retail figures are adjusted for seasonal variation but not for inflation)</em>; and</p>

<p>Third, across the industry, <strong>restaurants are increasingly pushing delivery services</strong> such as DoorDash to attract diners.</p>

<p>However, <a href="">as Bloomberg notes,</a> <strong>such historic gains caught the attention of economists</strong>. </p>

<p>Kevin Cummins and Michelle Girard at NatWest Markets said the figures indicate<em> “...consumers remain quite comfortable with their personal financial situation and the economic outlook.” </em></p>

<p>Omair Sharif of Societe Generale noted that restaurants accounted for 30 percent of the July increase in retail sales but just 12 percent of the total.</p>

<p><em><strong>“Any mean reversion here would lead to a noticeably slower pace of retail sales in the coming months,”</strong></em> Sharif wrote in a research note.</p>

<p>Industry data show <strong>restaurant sales are growing while customer traffic declines, resulting in higher average checks</strong>, according to MillerPulse figures cited by Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus.</p><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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