Consumers to spend less eating out this year

NEW YORK (CNN) – It might be a little bit easier to get a table at your favorite restaurant this year. A new survey says people plan to cut back on dining out this year.

Dining out isn’t on the menu for 2014, at least for some people. Americans plan to cut the amount they spend in restaurants by 9% this year. That’s according to a new study from Alix Partners. It’s not a particularly new phenomenon, but it’s growing.

In recent years, people have cut restaurant spending by 5%. Darden, the owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, is feeling the pain. It recently said that sales at some of its restaurants fell last quarter.

So what gives? The economy. Sure, Americans are feeling better about the economy. Just look at consumer confidence.

It’s improving, but still isn’t back to where it was before the recession, same thing with the unemployment rate. It’s dropping, but it’s still at a high level, 6.6%. Because of that, people just aren’t quite ready to splurge on dinner out and that’s normal.

Usually when people cut back, they cut back on non-essential items first. However, the economy is improving. Spending is picking up.

Also, restaurants are undoubtedly hoping that they’ll soon taste an increase in business.

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