Weekend dinner reservations are hard to come by, and that hot new place in town has a line snaking down the block.
This must mean that business is booming, right? The answer is complicated. Data shows that traffic and revenue in many segments in the restaurant industry is flat or even down.
So where have the diners gone?
They’re staying home: 82 percent of meals are now consumed at home (NPD Group). This represents an upward trend that is validated by the fact that restaurant foot traffic has been basically flat since 2009.
They’re trying to save money: 75 percent of respondents to an NPD group survey said they are eating out less, with many citing prices as a reason.
They’re learning how to cook: Meal Kit services (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, etc) are currently a $400M market and are expected to increase tenfold in the next five years (Technomic). Despite market consolidation, funding is still flowing to these companies, including a $32M Series A to Habit, among others (CB Insights).