Not that we needed further evidence that the one percent are indeed getting richer, but today brings news that fine-dining venues saw steady growth this year while casual-dining chains have seen shrinking numbers of customer visits, according to market research firm the NPD Group. This year’s been full of headlines about chain restaurants in trouble, including Marie Callender’s/Perkins and Denny’s, and these new figures only confirm that the ailing economy and ongoing unemployment have kept the majority of Americans eating in.
In other bad news, when we do go out, we’re now spending 1.3 percent more than we were a year ago, owing to rising food costs. Fast-food chains are doing okay, with flat growth over the last year, while specific chains like Panera Bread and Chipotle are capturing some extra attention from consumers.
But it’s the wealthiest among us, dining out in the nation’s best restaurants, who are creating the bull market for high-end food. Maybe those Occupiers who hit one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants in New York were onto something.