November 15, 2023

Restaurant sales rose for the 8th consecutive month

Consumer spending in restaurants outpaced other retail sectors in recent months.

Restaurant sales continued to trend higher in October, albeit at a somewhat slower pace compared to recent months.

Eating and drinking places* registered total sales of $92.9 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in October, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That was up 0.3% from September’s upward-revised volume of $92.6 and represented the eighth consecutive month of sales gains. 

In total during the last 8 months, eating and drinking place sales increased 6.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis. In comparison, total sales in non-restaurant retail sectors were up just 1.9% during the same 8-month period.

Inflation-adjusted restaurant sales also rose in recent months, as sales growth outpaced increases in menu prices. After adjusting for menu price inflation, eating and drinking place sales were up 3.2% during the last 8 months.

*Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry, which prior to the coronavirus pandemic generated approximately 75% of total restaurant and foodservice sales. Monthly sales figures presented above represent total revenues at all eating and drinking place establishments. This differs from the National Restaurant Association’s sales projections, which represent food and beverage sales at establishments with payroll employees. 

Read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.