The U.S. restaurant industry has reason to be concerned after consumers said they plan to eat out less in 2014 and restaurant operator confidence declined due to the government shutdown.
A new survey from consulting firm AlixPartners shows that consumers will be eating out less often in 2014 and will spend less. The average expenditure per meal is expected to drop from $14.99 over the last 12 months to $14.32 over the next 12 months, a 4.5-percent decline that is largely driven by meal deals.
Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) dropped 0.3 percent to 100.2 in September. "Restaurant operators' confidence in the economy continued to deteriorate, which was likely due to the fact that the government shutdown and debt ceiling debates occurred during the midst of the survey's October fielding period," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the NRA, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
However, diners surveyed by AlixPartners are not as concerned about the economy as they are about eating healthfully. 60 percent of consumers said they will dine out less often because they want to eat more healthfully in the next year, rising from 50 percent of respondents in the first quarter.
Still, 59 percent of respondents said they will eat out less because of finances, compared with 54 percent during the first quarter and 51 percent last year.
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