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US Restaurant Spending "Pretty Ugly" In February

Tyler Durden's picture


February marks the first three-months of consecutive declines in restaurant sales in almost three years as Bloomberg reports consumers caught in "an emotional moment" spooked by higher payroll taxes, surging healthcare premia, and spiking energy costs. "February was pretty ugly" for many chains after January delivered an initial blow."

Malcolm Knapp notes that "it's important to keep in mind that companies also are facing unusually tough comparable sales because of favorable weather in 2012," so the result is an industry that’s been "a lot softer so far this year."

It will hardly be a surprise to ZH readers but it appears that gas prices are key as Knapp notes, "that one-week spike was a killer; it destroyed sales in the first week of February," and has overall put "meaningful pressure on the discretionary purchasing power," of restaurants' (like Darden) customers.

"People are acting fearfully, or you could almost say rationally in a way,” because it’s not surprising they change their dining habits when they feel less confident as once again it's the middle class that appears under pressure. Casual dining is "definitely being squeezed" because "it's not food on-the-go and it's not high-end food for people trying to treat themselves."



Via Bloomberg,

Restaurants are reeling from their worst three months since 2010, as American diners spooked by higher payroll taxes cut back on eating out.


Sales at casual-dining establishments fell 5.4 percent last month, after declining 0.6 percent in January and 1.6 percent in December, according to the Knapp-Track Index of monthly restaurant sales. This was the first three months of consecutive declines in almost three years, with consumers caught in a “very emotional moment,” said Malcolm Knapp, a New York-based consultant who created the index and has monitored the industry since 1970.


“February was pretty ugly” for many chains -- and probably will be the worst month of the year -- after January delivered an “initial blow” while Americans grappled with increased payroll taxes and health-care premiums, rising gasoline prices and budget debates in Washington, Knapp said. “It’s important to keep in mind that companies also are facing unusually tough comparable sales because of favorable weather in 2012,” so the result is an industry that’s been “a lot softer so far this year.”




U.S. paychecks have shrunk this year after Congress and President Barack Obama let the tax that funds Social Security benefits revert to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent. Meanwhile, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded has risen about 12 percent since Dec. 31, to $3.69, including a one-week jump of 17 cents between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, based on data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring organization.


“That one-week spike was a killer; it destroyed sales in the first week of February,” Knapp said.


All this has “put meaningful pressure on the discretionary purchasing power” of Darden’s customers, causing the company to pre-announce a decline in same-restaurant sales...




Consumers and industry contacts in surveys conducted this month by RBC Capital Markets said higher payroll taxes have been the biggest impediment to sales this year, hurting business for about 63 percent of companies, up from 36 percent last month. Meanwhile, 54 percent of Americans said they already cut back on dining out or intend to do so, the No. 1 reduced expense, followed by clothing and vacations.


People are acting fearfully, or you could almost say rationally in a way,” because it’s not surprising they change their dining habits when they feel less confident, said Larry Miller, an analyst in Atlanta with RBC. The difference of five guests a day could move a restaurant’s traffic counts by 1 percentage point because the business is “very sensitive to marginal changes.”




Casual dining is “definitely being squeezed” because “it’s not food on-the-go and it’s not high-end food for people trying to treat themselves,” said Matthew Beesley...


“It seems to me Darden is caught between those two buckets of expenditures,” Beesley said. A sit-down meal away from home is “extremely discretionary,” while there’s also an excess of supply.




Although casual-dining sales took the biggest hit in February -- down 4.9 percent -- the weakness was broader, according to “channel checks” conducted by RBC. ...


The environment still is “very, very tough” for Yum! Brands, operator of Taco Bell and KFC, said Chief Executive Officer David Novak. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company is bracing for “a tentative consumer, a tentative economy,” which probably will lead to a difficult year, ...




In addition, Americans aren’t cutting back equally on where they eat out. Sales have varied based on the type of food offered, with steakhouses showing more strength, Miller and Knapp agreed.




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Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:29 | 3355017 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Dog...don't be steppin' on my overpriced burrito with your Chinese noodles already.  I can eat Ramen at 10 pennies a pack...get for reals.  Just 'cause Sacrilege can't figure out the Hong Kong filter is no reason to be goin' all water army on me now, dog!

Folks who be goin' out to dinner at some sad ass corporate restaurant several times per week...are "financially challenged."  In fact, they would be what a gal I once knew called, "Nature be weedin' out the stupid."   Don't be goin' all tirade on me now...she said it...not me.

Honestly, if you can't figure out that you can make a burrito in your kitchen for pennies on the corporate dollar, standin' in line like some tool...well....I can't help you.

And 'bout burritos....if you can't figure out how a carb bomb like that is not "health food" are worse than stupid.  You gots some nuclear sort of dust on you...and you can't be saved.  I'm sorry...but that is how the world works.  Those of us who are terminal...well....terminal speaks for itself.

And if you do all that while standing in a room that makes a warehouse seem cozy...I'm not sure I actually have the best word that describes you.  I suspect the word is pretty bad, and not really suited for mixed company.

And the long run....somewhere between now and when our chance for survival drops to zero....let's just say that burrito chompin' fools standing in warehouse like rooms don't stand a chance.  Guys like me...well...we'll be swapin' packs of Marlboro in exchange for your ammunition.  

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:29 | 3355064 object_orient
object_orient's picture

Burritos are still a good deal at mom and pop takeout places. Maybe they are carb bombs, but I thought preppers loved rice and beans.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:38 | 3355113 Cdad
Cdad's picture

That is correct...but the problem of course and me ain't scrappin' in a field somewhere tryin' to figure out which one of us is going to make it right now.  And rice and beans, of course, for those who actually know how to boil water....pennies.  Freakin' fake copper Fed issued pennies, dog.

My guess...after all the shit goes that I can prepare a fresh hot burrito for you, and you'll hand over your last round to me, dog.  That's what I be sayin'.....................

As for you folks congregatin' in warehouses....good luck to you.  My guess is you are fully long the S&P right here....'cause you heard about the "recovery" goin' on.


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:43 | 3355124 WayBehind
WayBehind's picture

Unless you are a fast food February was a good month for restaurants because of the Valentine's Day .... In general, high end and cheap restaurants are doing good. The middle range (or should I say middle class) no so much.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:15 | 3355269 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

50LB Rice $25.50, 50LB Beans 18.00, flour, salt, shortening, baking soda (tortillas) 5LB block cheddar on sale and some cheap cuts of meat= Good-cheap burritos for a month for under 120.00

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:01 | 3355575 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

This is the time to be smart, frugal and healthier, all at the same time.

This is true of food & beverage selection as it is of all things.

Did any of you ever truly look around at the quality and quantity of the types pf products and services the average person spends their units of labor/savings/wealth on, or worse yet, goes into debt to obtain? Much, and arguably most, of the products are absolute crap, that will do nothing to enhance any quality of their life, but will exist in a dust collecting state, as an empirical piece of evidence of the success of marketing and the phenomenon of the "always on consumption switch" (the default position).

In fact, this example of "empty" and even "destructive" calories (destruction of the diabetes, arterial diseases, metabolic syndrome and cancer forms) is the perfect example of the U.S. economy as a whole, which now more than ever has a higher proportion of its output that can be properly categorized as "junk food."

The American Economy has been and is now saddled with such a disproportionately large accumulation of completely discretionary products, goods and services, upon which the economy is now massively dependent (more than any other in the world-- more than any European nation, Japan or even the U.K.), that as the debt-saturated consumers ultimately break rather than merely bend, anyone dependent on such things as restaurant sales for their livelihood will look back at sales declines like we're seeing now and marvel at how it lasted this long.

This is just one of many reasons it's impossible to get government to stop the relentless printing. As soon as the government stops (that will be forced by extraneous circumstances most likely, and not by choice, so long as it has the choice) attempting to patch the increasingly larger holes being created by the deleveraging (in real and EVEN nominal terms) of the American Debt Serf, the extent of the Great Hollowing out of the American Economy, which is a process still underway, will be as plainly visible to the average sheeple as it is and has been to many of you.

This is the real reason the Big Box Marts, the Happy TGI-McFunsters, the FedExs, and so many retailers are turning into ghost towns across much of the country, and the cutting down of the discretionary fat that comprises such a disproportionately massive % of the American Junk Food Economy is only 4 years into this process, and there's nothing that the Federal Reserve or government can do to stem this; the more they print, the more it becomes obvious just how little demand there really is for such a wide basket of the goods and services America's present day economy is producing.

40 years of credit/debt binging has brought about the Great Diabetic American Economy, 2008 was merely another (if powerful) sign of the extensive damage that has been wrought by the underlying disease, and the more destructive, extensive cardiovascular & pulmonary events still haven't even occurred -- but they will.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:39 | 3355610 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Indeed! I'm a bit of a foodie. I'm always surprised when I tell people how easy it is to cook (even that delicious lengua for the the burritos), they then complain they don't have time. Worse yet, they go to trash like Taco Bell, which is definitely no longer cheap eats. Local mexican/salvadoran food trucks dish out stuff (cheap) that's infinitely better than corporate crap4food.

Also check out restaurant supply type places where you can get even better prices. Rice and beans (if kept dry) will not go bad. No reason not to buy big on some items.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:00 | 3356233 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet's picture

You can put onions in 'em, too - they're cheap, taste good, and keep for a while.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:42 | 3355133 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

take your drunk ass home.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:17 | 3355279 centerline
centerline's picture

Have a drink.  Order up some good food.  The supply chain has never been so good and won't be again for a very long time.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:59 | 3355205 object_orient
object_orient's picture

Boiling water takes energy. In your SHTF scenario gas, electricity, firewood will be worth considerably more than pennies. But whatever. I eat BRCs a few times a week, and not at Chipotle (or in a warehouse???)

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 01:52 | 3355877 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

Down arrowed because you purposely try to sound more ignorant than you probably are...


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:46 | 3355151 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

The majority of "restaurants" serve brought in or frozen shit. 


The majority of those that don't are "expensive" for many.


Endless Shrimp, where are you???

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:05 | 3355224 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The endless shrimp was all eaten by the endless anal leakage fish.  YUM.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:23 | 3355639 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Where "Endless Shrimp" & Most of the "Better" Seafood in Most Restaurants & Grocery Stores Comes From & How It's Raised & Processed: Bon Appetit, Bitchez

Workers at Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise in Vietnam were recently seen hauling plastic baskets of shrimp through the company's filthy, trash-ridden, and bug-infested facility. Containers full of the shrimp were loaded up with ice made from questionable, and often contaminated, tap water that the government recommends boiling before use, which has become the norm rather than the exception when it comes to seafood processing.


Many seafood farms feed fish animal waste

Similar unsanitary conditions are common throughout China as well, which is a major exporter of tilapia and scallops. According to Bloomberg, many seafood farmers in China actually feed their fish feces from pigs, geese, and other cattle, even though the practice is extremely unsafe. Not only does this exposure to animal waste tend to make the fish sick, but it also contaminates their water environments with excrement, which is often polluted with harmful bacteria like salmonella.


"Those conditions -- ice made from dirty water, animals near the farms, pigs -- are unacceptable," said Mansour Samadpour, a microbiologist, to Bloomberg Markets magazine about the dirty secrets of the seafood trade. Samadpour's company, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group, specializes in testing the cleanliness of water for the shellfish farming industry.


Unscrupulous seafood farmers, particularly in Asian countries, are cutting corners to boost profits, which puts consumers at high risk. In China, many operators have altogether stopped purchasing safer commercial feed, and have instead turned to exclusively feeding their fish potentially deadly animal waste.


"The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes and salmonella," says Michael Doyle, Director of the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety, about the larger problem of China's seafood farming industry.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:18 | 3355283 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

They got sucked up by the BP oil skimmers.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:19 | 3355548 Dugald
Dugald's picture

I know this is OT but its good for a chuckle or six.....


Tolerance - >From a British Perspective .... Simply Brilliant!!!!
> From a British perspective: This was a reader's 'letter to the editor
> ' published in daily " SUN" on Sunday.
> Tolerance .. I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are
> against another mosque being built in London on the Thames?
> I think it should be the goal of every Englishman to be tolerant. Thus
> the Mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.
> That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to
> the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque.
> We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, "The Turban
> Cowboy", and the other a topless bar called "You Mecca Me Hot."
> Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and
> adjacent to that an open-pit barbeque pork restaurant, called "Iraq o'
> Ribs."
> Across the street there could be a lingerie store called "Victoria
> Keeps Nothing Secret ", with sexy mannequins in the window modeling
> the goods.
> Next door to the lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex
> toy shop, "Koranal Knowledge ", its name in flashing neon lights, and
> on the other side a liquor store called "Morehammered."
> All of this would encourage the Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance
> they demand of us, so the mosque problem would be solved.
> If you agree with promoting tolerance and you think this is a good
> plan, please publish my letter.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:23 | 3355021 Kitler
Kitler's picture

Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

(Time to short restaurants & insurance companies)

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:44 | 3355397 Carl Spackler
Carl Spackler's picture

Darden announces on Friday.

Hmmmm...should I load up on the out-of-the-money puts at a $40 strike?


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:18 | 3355027 meatball
meatball's picture

If a small increase in gas price affects your budget that much, you shouldn't be eating out in the first place.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:40 | 3355120 W74
W74's picture

Probably half of America lives paycheck-to-paycheck, saves nothing, and is completely puzzled about why they're broke every month.  It doesn't matter if these people make 40K/year or over 100K, you'd be surprized at how many people have no idea where/how they spend.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:58 | 3355159 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

whenever you see those shows on tv where financial advisors try to curtail out of control spending by some idiot-going out to eat/drink eats up a monster part of their budget.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:37 | 3355358 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

Otto, you hit the nail on the head - I see people at my work and students at my school coming in almost every single day with a great big coffee or purchased bottled something. That's got to kick them in the the pants financially after let's say conservatively 48 weeks of 5 days buying extras to eat/drink. And that's only one year.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:49 | 3355173 duo
duo's picture

Last month I saw a couple spend $34 for lunch at a Vietnamese Pho place.  They ordered pretty much everything on the menu.

Last Saturday at lunch I watched a mom and her kids go through $24 for coffee and brownies for her and her 3 kids.  You do that every day and it adds up (like two car payments or half a mortgage).  WTF?

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 06:56 | 3356133 Pope Clement
Pope Clement's picture

Good advice TIS - Disturbing research showing that not only wheat is derimental to your health and the health of your gut but the complex carbs of all grains are a primary source of many modern ailments...

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 07:56 | 3356219 S5936
S5936's picture

At the sev ( 7/11) typical youngster order goes like this , " get me a pack of Newports, a double giant Grape big gulp, a couple of those 2 for 1 big bite hot dogs and a couple of them loser for life scratch offs. $ 20 bucks & the day has just begun, it's 7 am ! .....& just so you know I was getting a green tea. That is all.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:08 | 3356264 Chaos_Theory
Chaos_Theory's picture

Better to spend it now than park it in a savings account waiting for our own Cypriot haircut.


Edit:  however, better to spend on things of value in a potential barter society, vice iShit.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:20 | 3355036 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


If you notice the number of commercials from bling eateries (Applebee's, Chilli's, and the like) you can see they are trying desperately to woo customers back.

I would guess that Olive Garden's returns are going to be worse and worse as this year proceeds as well.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:37 | 3355107 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

OG is going to get a makeover-that will bring em flooding back in.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:48 | 3355166 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

I'm done with the Olive Garden.

Last time I went they didn't bring spoons. 

When I asked for spoons the waiter said "May I ask what for?".

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:00 | 3355209 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

you should have told him you needed to cook your h

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:17 | 3355277 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

I asked for a tiny bit more of the red sauce and it was like asking for all the cash out of their safe...the Olive Garden waitresses are rude and when we reported it to the manager he shrugged his shoulders. That's the last time I take my office folks to eat there.


Service gets worse and worse and seems to be spreading like an infection. Before you know it, they'll stop delivering mail on Saturdays!

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:11 | 3355519 Janice
Janice's picture

I spent some time thinking about this when I was recently treated rudely by a service person, and I have come to an epiphany. Service people are the same people who are so uneducated, unskilled and inept that they could not get government jobs. Let that sink in for a little while. I figure the nice ones are the same people who attend night school to get ahead.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:03 | 3356244 S5936
S5936's picture

It's the horseshit simpleton music they play ALL F'in day. It will drive anyone to the edge. Not to mention the mental patient customers.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 10:26 | 3356894 Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

have you ever worked in the service industry?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:48 | 3355170 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

But they keep the "endless" gluten and salt.


Where are "endless" shrimp when you need them?


Maybe Golden Corral will satisfy the "endless" urge?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:23 | 3355305 Key-Rick
Key-Rick's picture

olive garden - we heat up the frozen dog shit for you.  

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:55 | 3355655 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture

Their chefs are trained in Tuscany, hater.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:03 | 3355893 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Tuscany Avenue in Compton.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:13 | 3355906 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Tuscany, West Virginia?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:21 | 3355039 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

Bloomy may relent and bring back 32oz vino...........yumyum

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:36 | 3355936 natty light
natty light's picture

You can still get a 40 in NY. 

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:40 | 3355940 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Apple Wine (aka Night Train, Mad Dog 20/20).

Gives me the DTs just thinking about my college days.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:26 | 3355051 miker
miker's picture

Most of the economy is slowing up in a major way.  More to come with seakwestrashun.  The more they talk up the stock market, the worse it acutally negative correlation tool.


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:27 | 3355059 pods
pods's picture

Look on the bright side, think of how many horses will be saved?


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:09 | 3355244 Mark123
Mark123's picture

I'm whispering to my burger.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:19 | 3355286 centerline
centerline's picture


Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:07 | 3355676 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

The term 'trojan horse' gets a new meaning in a restaurant.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 07:45 | 3356180 keep the bastar...
keep the bastards honest's picture

I had to get an  new password and had to fight my way in to reply. I cant stop stop laughing at this. 

jeez I am surrounded by fkn dullards. Dont know if its the food or the media. Thanx bunga made my night after exposure to fkwits all day long.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:28 | 3355060 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Well who would have thought with those insane prices?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:34 | 3355088 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

the real rip-off(and profit) is beer and liquor-$6 for a bottle of Heineken when you can buy a six pack for that.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:38 | 3355110 W74
W74's picture

Really?  What liquor store are you purchasing from?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:41 | 3355128 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

for some reason heineken is always  on sale around here ( chi-burbs)for $6 or $7 for a six pack. not much more than domestics

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:29 | 3355069 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

but cramer said the consumer is back. darden must be incorrect

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:32 | 3355075 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

my son and i went to a simple place for friday fish fry. 2 meals and 2 beers each and bill was $46.00.  Sure glad there is no inflation.

Fuck you Bernanke

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:35 | 3355092 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

how much did you tip your server/college grad/masters degree holder?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:10 | 3355245 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

No lie to this.

We went out to our anniversary dinner to a Black Angus on 2/14.  Place was packed, of course.  Our server was a bona fide college professor that I once knew.  Cut backs in spending had reduced her position to part-time, then to just a few hours a week.  Surviving on minimum wage and still had her own college debt outstanding.  She said it was over $75k.  (yes, I'm a rude asshole and ask questions like that.)

At least she knew the value of personal service.  She was busy at her tables the entire time, while we saw others attempting to catch their servers attention.  She even caught up with those people and sent their surly servers over.

It was our splurge and we had a windfall, so I tipped her 2x the bill (for me being such a rude asshole).

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:25 | 3355315 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

that's the fucked up thing about tenure-she would probably work 2x as hard for less than  half of what most of these asshole profs at universities and colleges get. not to mention the $5mil the football coaches get.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 07:52 | 3356202 keep the bastar...
keep the bastards honest's picture

jeez good on  you. exactly . that is  why she was a professor, a life time of fkn service in a world of freaks.

Keep the bastards honest.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:21 | 3355299 centerline
centerline's picture

A couple of years ago we ordered pizza for delivery.  I told my wife to have a few extra dollars on hand beyond the normal tip because some laid-off, middle-aged family guy was going to deliver instead of the usual teenager in a beat up car.  She thought I was nuts... until she answered the door.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:11 | 3356275 S5936
S5936's picture

Former Lehman bros guy no dought. That's about the only job they could handle after 20 yrs of ripping the face off muppets.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:37 | 3355101 W74
W74's picture

The high prices are one of the reasons my wife and I have stopped eating out at all.  We used to go maybe 3 times a month, now maybe Once.  It's impossible to eat for under $20 and damn hard to eat well under $30.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:16 | 3355271 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

Two McDonalds combo meals (Quarter Pounder and Chicken McNuggets) 1985 around $7, today around $15

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:54 | 3355782 daxtonbrown
daxtonbrown's picture

It's $15 for me to treat mysrlf to a burger on special at Hooters with just the usual tip. I used to go a couple times a week. Now that would cost me %120 a month, which would translate into three gallons of polyester resin I could use to start making fiberglass parts (my way to start a side business that makes physical product).

Bye bye Hooters girls. Much less Pinky over at the strip club.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 09:37 | 3356631 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

You still tip?

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 13:24 | 3357937 Hongcha
Hongcha's picture

$15 burger?  she better serve it between her pert young breasts for that kind of money!

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:38 | 3355115 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Yep. Ate just a spaghetti saturday... 20$... hell at the grocery store, you can have the same thing for less than 3-4$.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:19 | 3355289 Mark123
Mark123's picture another can mommy!

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:32 | 3355341 Key-Rick
Key-Rick's picture

you know Peter I remember that episode where you said you were hungry enough to eat a horse.  "I misspoke."  

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 09:35 | 3356624 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

Not if you want your bolognese sauce to be any good.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 01:04 | 3355801 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

My chef friend says many restaurants don't have inflation. People hate paying more so when food goes up new dishes with higher prices go on the new menu. It's not inflation, it's "improved cuisine".

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:35 | 3355091 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

This despite new highs in the manipulated Dow?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:39 | 3355116 Azwethinkweiz
Azwethinkweiz's picture

Come to Los Angeles. All the high end restaurants are mobbed and the low end, well---there seems to be a new hot dog, hamburger or BBQ restauarnt opening up right across the street from another hot dog, hamburger or BBQ restauarnt each week. $4.50 for a hot dog and there are lines out the door. #californialove

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:02 | 3355215 Bear
Bear's picture

New Cali fast food place ... Boardwalk ... great custom burgers for $3.25. Skip the dog and go for real Bear food.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 07:58 | 3356224 keep the bastar...
keep the bastards honest's picture

I went to LA in 1977 and stopped eating for the week I was there. It was precursor. The people smelt strange.


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:45 | 3355146 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Dining out at restaurants is another form of gambling.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:04 | 3355217 pods
pods's picture

If I need an adrenalin rush, I am going to enter the Carnival Cruise Japanese "White Tuna" Sushi eating contest.


Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:13 | 3355694 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

Why need headlamps, when head glows at night?

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:45 | 3355150 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

KFC et al are just as expensive as nicer places with cloth napkins.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:52 | 3355181 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

But as the only establishment with a shrinkwrapped spork & single ply napkin all in one, Kentucky Fried Chicken remains at the forefront of modern dining. 

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:09 | 3355238 pods
pods's picture

KFC, the classiest joint in the ghetto.


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:16 | 3355278 Mark123
Mark123's picture

The most popular fast food joint in China.  Who would have thought?


Something sickening about watching people eat that shit.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:38 | 3355367 pods
pods's picture

Don't get "boneless" as it is more difficult to fake bones.

Of course, we are talking about China.


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:55 | 3355453 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Somebody needs to tell these b-ball playing, KFC-eating Chinese that they aren't black.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:02 | 3355890 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

As compared to Chruch's Chicken?!

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:02 | 3356238 sunnyside
sunnyside's picture

My teenager worked at the local Bojangles Chicken.  Every stereotype of black people and fried chicken imaginable have scarred her. 

The big thing now is to eat about 3/4 of it (sometimes all) and then take it back up and say it wss bad and demand your money back.  Some will eat half a sandwich, take it up and say it was bad for a refund and still want to keep the "bad" sandwich.  Oh, and that chicken had damn well better be fresh right from the fryer.  Instead of drinks, they will ask for the complimentary water cup, but then at the drink station fill it with soda. 

Credit card rejection is getting higher and higher she says,  Perhaps when you have had 4 credit cards declined for your $10 chicken bucket, it is a sign that you cannot afford it.

The staff or crew that works as well as the applicants are mostly middle age people too.  Eight bucks an hour is a tough way to live.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:17 | 3356296 S5936
S5936's picture

Maybe they should start redlining chicken joints .

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:19 | 3355915 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

KFC is how you tell yo bitch yo serious, yo!  Hard to get a bucket through that little security tray and the armored glass is all greasy, yo!

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:48 | 3355167 Catflappo
Catflappo's picture

Bullish for CMG.

Just not as Bullish as bullish restaurant industry numbers would have been.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:59 | 3355208 Bear
Bear's picture

They change their eating habits not because of how they 'feel' ... they change their eating habits because they have to, because they can't afford to go to Olive Garden anymore.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 02:22 | 3355919 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Perhaps this is part of the Yeti - er, I mean Mrs. Obama's health plan; you will lose weight because you cannot affort to eat out.  Stay home and have a GMO tortilla. 

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:04 | 3355221 ekm
ekm's picture

Food baby, food. It's coming down to food, also.

We're almost there, almost there.

Be patient

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:08 | 3355231 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Doomberg just needs to raise NYC restaurant gratuity to 40%. It’s a shoe in, I tells ya!


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:13 | 3355262 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

I drove past a DQ tonite just as dinner time was beginning. It smelled like they were frying up a herd of rancid long dead elephants. I seriously have never smelled anything like it, it was worse than a trash truck on a 100 degree day. 

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:13 | 3355263 Mark123
Mark123's picture

Olive garden used to be a fairly good deal...good portions, tasty etc (not great, but still good).


Now you go to places like Olive garden and the service is poor, food is poor, and prices are high.  You can get MUCH better deals at local places owned by real people that care about what they serve (rather than share buy-backs, IPOs, leverage buy-outs, beating EPS by a penny etc etc).


I am amazed that so many stupid people still go to these places.  Dumb and Dumber.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:37 | 3355359 pods
pods's picture

The commercials I have seen lately now tout 500 calorie meals.
They will now happily sell you less food for the same, or greater, price.

Reminds me of the good old days of slinging candy bars (vending) in my youth.  The fat ones would line up to by the "fat free" Snackwells cookies 2 at a time.  Zero fat, 200 something calories of pure carbs (mainly sugar).

Which, are easily stored as...............


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:31 | 3355332 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Good, less fucking fat people.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:50 | 3355645 22winmag
22winmag's picture

You're going to cut down?

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:27 | 3356330 Chaos_Theory
Chaos_Theory's picture

No no no no NO!  I need more fat people for when I become a human cattle rancher in the coming Zombie Apocalypse. 


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 22:52 | 3355444 dolph9
dolph9's picture

There's definitely inflation.  Food is worse and prices up.

The chains aren't worth it anymore, like they were in my youth.  Better to eat cheaply and treat yourself every now and then.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:20 | 3355551 Sutton
Sutton's picture

Wild salmon=best food to eat

Farm raised salmon=Salmon from a Chinese cesspool


Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:51 | 3355642 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Hmmm, WalMart has three kinds of frozen Salmon... Sockeye $9.99/pound, Atlantic $6.49/12oz, and Questionable $3.50/pound.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:06 | 3356256 keep the bastar...
keep the bastards honest's picture

Trouble is Fuki radiation in the water goes right up there north to the best sustainable wild caught mercury free salmon..there are no conincidences.

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 23:59 | 3355667 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

1% inflation my flock.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:30 | 3355731 valkir
valkir's picture

Food?Check this out.We must grow our food ourselfs bitchez,i dont trust any food in any restoraunt.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 06:04 | 3356084 negative rates
negative rates's picture

You certain they ain't just carrying it around in the trunk?

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 03:53 | 3356010 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

Restaurant sales down....horsemeat sales, way down.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:35 | 3356053 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

So the restaurants are sliding.  Reflects poorly on upcoming Q1 reporting.


Let's see if the SP500 circus holds up to this.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 06:29 | 3356107 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Wait until Obamacare kicks in.  There will be much more "rationality" from the middle class.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:09 | 3356267 keep the bastar...
keep the bastards honest's picture

fkem. How about tru love and home cooking. And a garden.

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:13 | 3356284 s2man
s2man's picture

So, fear = rationality.  And from Bloomberg, no less.  Dang, now the secret is out. 

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:57 | 3356422 madcows
madcows's picture

We took the kids to a Longhorns for lunch.  We got 4 burgers w/ a drink and a kiddie meal.  With tip it was $70.  Needless to say, we only get restaraunt food when we aren't home to cook our own... We might eat out 3 times a year, at most.  If I had money to burn, it would be nice to go out with the wife for a meal away from the kids.  But I don't have $100 to blow on a date.  Inflation stole my discretionary income, and it's well on it's way to stealing my non-discretionary income.  

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 11:50 | 3357393 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

People are eating better - they have to, because if they don't, they REALLY pay for it down the road.

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