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Some restaurants see a cautious consumer. Others, not so much

Executives with some chains say their diners are shifting to discounts while others say their customers are spending more.


Restaurant hiring picked up in July

The industry added 74,100 jobs, its best rate in months. But the number of employees remains short of pre-pandemic levels.

Food costs remain historically high. But it’s increasingly looking like they have peaked. And gas prices are coming down, too.

The Bottom Line: GDP fell for the second straight quarter, which typically signifies a recession. There are some signs of consumer cutbacks in restaurants, but they’re not widespread.

Data on foot traffic is showing improvements in the number of people in downtown areas and office buildings, but it remains far below pre-pandemic levels.

The Bottom Line: The likelihood of an economic downturn is increasing and there is already evidence of slowing demand, but there are reasons the industry is in better shape to withstand these problems.

The Bottom Line: Restaurant sales rose 1% in June, about as much as menu prices increased. The average consumer remains resilient and less willing to cut back on dining out than on other things.

Prices hit a 40-year high again in June. But overall inflation has been worse.

The industry added 40,800 jobs in June, continuing a generally slower rate of hiring. But wage growth was at its lowest level in months.

The Bottom Line: The industry remains 700,000 workers behind where it was before the pandemic, even as sales have recovered. Why is the business so far behind?

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