Despite restaurant retail sales being up 4.9 percent from the previous year, menu prices up 3.1 percent, and traffic higher by 1.8 percent, industry growth appears to be slowing with the 12-month traffic gain the smallest since spring 2018. Further, restaurants carried the smallest share of total retail sales since April.
ArrowStream's economists noted in the Maloni Report this week that, "the declining share of total sales for restaurants was the trend this fall, which is not atypical. But it’s also not a coincidence that the share of total retail sales going to gasoline stores went up this fall with higher fuel prices. Note the tendency of the share of total restaurant sales to decline as the share for gasoline stores rise. Certainly something to watch for in 2020."