We’re eating at street-corner stalls and food trucks, in front of the TV and at the grocery—everywhere but restaurants. They might not be here when we get back.
The restaurant industry is in a scary place, one that fairly guarantees heartbreak. Restaurant traffic was “flat” at the end of 2019 and “sluggish” the year before that, according to The NPD Group, a research firm that tracks how often we spend money at five types of businesses: fine dining, midscale, casual dining, retail, and, the biggest category, with 62 percent of the pie, quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Quick-service and retail qualified as “relative bright spots,” according to NPD, and casual places managed not to endure a fifth straight year of losses. But full-service restaurants dragged everything down: “Visit declines in the full-service restaurant segment continue to prevent the industry from growing.”