Here's an interesting snapshot of our current economy: Traffic at U.S. fast-food restaurant fell 1 percent in the third quarter, the sector’s first traffic decline in five years, according to the industry tracker NPD Group. Total restaurant visits were also down 1 percent.
One reason for this is that eating out has become more expensive even as the cost of at-home dining has fallen. The average restaurant bill has climbed 21 percent in the past decade.
Meanwhile, the cost of food purchased for home use — that is, groceries — has fallen 2.4 percent in the past year, according to the October consumer price index. That’s the biggest decline over a 12-month period since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. The NPD has estimated than 82 percent of all meals are now consumed at home.