Americans are ditching grocery stores and depending on their favorite restaurants to feed them—but that could also mean a tighter labor market.
Let’s call a spade a spade––Americans love to eat. But the U.S. Census Bureau says we strongly prefer to eat out rather than in, according to CNBC. With the rise in consumers relying on restaurants to satisfy their cravings, grocery stores could go the way of the dinos—which has its positives and negatives for franchisors.
Sales at eating and drinking establishments have spiked more than 4% this year, surpassing grocery sales that rose just 3% year-over-year. Why? According to the National Restaurant Association, 52% of consumers would rather pay for an experience such as a restaurant rather than pick up food item at the local market. Three in four consumers also admitted that dining out is better use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning.
The economic impact of the increase in consumers eating out is significant. The Restaurant Industry Factbook says that the restaurant industry is projected to employ 15.3 million people in 2019, which is about one in 10 Americans—up from 14.7 million.
It may be a difficult world for restaurant owners as they deal with a tight labor pool and rising wage costs, but that won’t stop Americans from handing over their money.
“There are two important drivers for the industry from a consumer perspective––convenience and socialization,” said National Restaurant Association senior VP of research Hudson Riehle. “Particularly looking at quick service, which has grown much more quickly than table service. There’s a greater focus on the off-premise market including carryout, drive-through, delivery and even food trucks.”
“Who needs grocery stores when you have a Chick-Fil-A down the road?” asked Americans everywhere.
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