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What restaurant operators need to know about inflation, consumer traffic, and how to create value

The NPD Group’s David Portalatin offers a look at macro trends affecting restaurants heading into 2023.


Many economists have suggested that the U.S. is heading toward (or already in) a recession, with inflation having caused economic turmoil and forcing consumers to tighten their belts as costs dramatically increase.

David Portalatin, senior vice president and food industry advisor at market research firm The NPD Group, won’t use the “r word” when discussing the economy, but concedes that there are stiff economic headwinds facing the restaurant industry — headwinds that he doesn’t see letting up until mid-2023.

Portalatin joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about those headwinds, how restaurants can win over customers even in this inflationary environment, and why age is playing a big role in consumer traffic patterns.

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • Grocery has the upper hand on affordability; restaurants must win on craveability
  • With prices rising, value isn’t what it used to be
  • Experience can be a part of your value equation
  • There’s opportunity in providing for the customer within their own home
  • An aging population is bad news for the restaurant industry
  • The good news is that demand for convenience continues to skyrocket
  • It’s going to get worse before it gets better

Have feedback or ideas for Take-Away? Email Sam at [email protected]

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