CNN reports that while restaurants have been reporting growing sales, the evidence is that foot traffic is falling, and the increased volume can be attributed to inflation: "Restaurants have been raising menu prices over the past few years, so they get a sales boost because each bill is higher, even if fewer customers are buying their food or people are coming in less often."
The story goes on:
"Some consumers may be trading down to more affordable restaurants. But many are finding that while grocery prices are also rising, eating in is still cheaper than dining out.
"Food is getting pricier across the board, and not just at restaurants. In fact, grocery prices are rising at a faster clip than menu prices. In the year through October, unadjusted for seasonal swings, grocery prices jumped 12.4%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Restaurant prices increased by 8.6%. But groceries are generally cheaper than restaurant meals. And as consumers try to stretch their budgets, demand for groceries is staying high."
- KC's View:
Thank goodness. Because I've gotten really tired of all the stories suggesting that it is cheaper to eat out, and that Thanksgiving will be more affordable for people who decide to eat out rather than staying home.
This is a value advantage that supermarkets have to press, aggressively and relentlessly. They should focus on value, building share of stomach, while still being aspirational and inspirational.