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Restaurant Sales are Trending Higher Again in 2019

Restaurant Sales are Trending Higher Again in 2019


We explore total restaurant industry sales, menu prices and food costs and look at key economic indicators.

Total restaurant industry sales

Eating and drinking place sales totaled $61.5 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in April, up 0.2 percent from a sales volume of $61.3 billion in March. April represented the fourth consecutive monthly increase in restaurant sales, which followed a soggy sales performance during the second half of 2018.

Despite the recent gains, total restaurant sales remained slightly below their seasonally-adjusted record high that was registered in July 2018.

Track more economic indicators.

Menu prices

Menu price growth continues to accelerate

Growth in menu prices accelerated in recent months. Menu prices rose 3.1 percent in the 12 months ending April 2019, which represented the first time in more than four years that menu-price growth topped the 3 percent threshold.

In contrast, grocery store prices continued to rise at a modest pace. Grocery store prices were up just 0.7 percent during the last 12 months, and are on pace to register their fifth consecutive year with growth below 2 percent.

In comparison, growth in overall consumer prices moderated in recent months. The overall Consumer Price Index rose 2.0 percent during the last 12 months, which represented the fifth consecutive month with a 12-month inflation rate of 2 percent or lower.

Food costs

Wholesale food prices edged higher in May

Wholesale food prices registered a modest gain in May, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Producer Price Index for All Foods – which represents the change in average prices paid to domestic producers for their output – rose 0.3 percent in May.

May’s modest gain represented the second increase in the last three months. Despite the recent gains, average wholesale food prices remained just 0.2 percent above their year-ago level.

Source: National Restaurant Association