Traffic to U.S. fast food restaurants hasn't grown from March through May, and visits to fast-casual restaurants fell. Fred Katayama reports.
Consumers are dining out less at fast-food restaurants. Research firm NPD found that visits haven't grown from March through May. That's a concern because fast food had been a growth area, and it makes up four-fifths of industry traffic. And the slow down has even affected the star of the industry, fast-casual restaurants. Visits fell 2 percent in the quarter ended May. Convergex's Nicholas Colas: SOUNDBITE: NICHOLAS COLAS, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, CONVERGEX, (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "It is a bit of a worrisome sign that even in a good economy when consumers should be spending, when wages are beginning to rise, when gas prices are low, we're still only seeing very modest growth in a lot of areas of consumer spending." Hurting the quick service restaurant industry: food at groceries have become cheaper, encouraging consumers to cook and eat in. And prepared food is easily available at convenience stores and so-called grocerants, groceries that offer food that customers can enjoy at the store.