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Insight of the Day: Who goes out to eat at restaurants? Increasingly, mostly wealthier people

This MarketWatch article reports that higher-income Americans are dining out more frequently compared to lower-income households. The article highlights the following key points:

  1. Economic Impact: The article states that rising food prices have affected consumer spending, particularly among those with lower incomes. These households are either cutting back on dining out altogether or spending less when they do.

  2. Restaurant Industry Impact: Dine Brands Global Inc., the owner of IHOP and Applebee's, has noted a decline in visits from consumers earning $50,000 or less per year. This trend is attributed to budget constraints and a focus on managing spending.

  3. Income-Based Disparities: The article highlights a growing gap in dining habits between income groups. While lower-income Americans are reducing restaurant visits, higher-income individuals are dining out more often.

  4. Trading Down: Some higher-income consumers are choosing more affordable dining options, but the most significant behavioral changes are observed among those earning $50,000 or less annually.

Overall, the article suggests that the restaurant industry is facing challenges due to changing consumer behavior linked to economic factors. Lower-income households are tightening their budgets, resulting in a decline in restaurant visits and spending. In contrast, higher-income individuals continue to frequent restaurants. This trend underscores the growing income disparity in America and its impact on consumer spending patterns.

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