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Sizing up how the end of 2023 was for restaurants


Consumers said they were going to dine out during the holidays, and recently released data indicates they did just that.

National Restaurant Association survey from early December showed that 63% of adults planned to eat out during the subsequent weeks, while 48% planned to order takeout or delivery. As such, after experiencing a dip in traffic through much of September and part of October, business appears to have picked up in early November and continued through the end of the year. Master Card Spending Pulse data shows that restaurant sales were up 7.8% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 versus the same period last year – the highest gain among all sectors, and by far. By comparison, retail sales increased 3.1% year-over-year.

Further, Technomic Ignite’s Tindex indicates industry sales were up nearly 10% in November 2023 versus November 2019. Of course, a good chunk of this increase comes from elevated pricing, but it indicates consumers are still very much willing to pay those higher menu costs. Notably, wage growth has outpaced inflation growth.  

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