Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lipstick on the Restaurant Pig

July 2012
Restaurant Performance Index

Although restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the 14th consecutive month in July, results were much softer than recent months.

That's 14 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales (during an economic expansion in an inflationary world with a growing population)! Get out the party hats (or not)!

While sales remained positive overall, restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic levels in July.

A year's worth of monetary inflation managed to drive up sales numbers but a year's worth of population growth couldn't drive up customer traffic? Fascinating.

Overall, restaurant operators remain cautiously optimistic that their sales levels will improve in the months ahead, though their outlook softened from recent months.

I remain cautiously permasoft.


Stagflationary Mark said...

Calculated Risk calls this report "D-list" data. I sure don't. Watching this restaurant index crash in December of 2007 would have let us know that there was a recession going in December of 2007. It might not seem like much but consider this.

Ben Bernanke couldn't even see the recession in February of 2008.

The Fed forecast he summarized called for very slow growth in 2008, but no recession; and that was the good news.

The good news is that we were told there was no recession while we were in a recession. Just think if people had known? There might have been a financial panic, lol. Sigh. Sorry, just more gallows humor.

Speaking of restaurants, I think the fork is one useful utensil. There's just so much you can do with it.

November 19, 2007
Los Angeles and Long Beach Trade

Inbound traffic continues to deteriorate. Perhaps it is time to stick a fork in the consumer. I think we're done.

Stagflationary Mark said...

For those just tuning in, here is an update to those port traffic charts.

August 16, 2012
Port Traffic Stagnation Continues

The title says it all.

Troy said...

To save money, we should all try to go through 2013 without eating in restaurants or buying anything imported.

shows the rising dependence on food service jobs. Maybe the baby boom retirement wave will actually increase this trend.

As it is, I've only spent maybe $30 in restaurants this year (Trader Joe's FTW). Purchases of Imported Stuff: $0 (!) -- the stuff I bought the last decade is still holding up.

Troy said...

made a chart for DeLong's:

Blue is wages + CMDEBT take-on (Keen's thesis).

Yellow is nonwage income + after-tax corporate profits

Stagflationary Mark said...


To save money, we should all try to go through 2013 without eating in restaurants or buying anything imported.

As it is, I've only spent maybe $30 in restaurants this year...

For each $10 I spend on food at home I'm spending roughly $1 eating out (and that often goes towards paying for others too).

One can only imagine what the unemployment rate would look like if our frugality were to spread.

Food Services and Drinking Places Employees / Total Nonfarm Employees

Scott said...

Prices at fast food restaurants seem to have nearly doubled in the past four years. Not a surprise, then that traffic growth has been week. When you look at the menu and a meal that used to be $4.50 is now almost $8.00; it's easy to just walk away.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Walking away could someday put a serious dent in the 9.9 million food services and drinking places employees. Sigh.