“As we see price spikes and shortages, we’re seeing changes in pumping patterns, which can hurt restaurant sales,” said McNamara, who presented national and state data to restaurant operators Oct. 16 as part of a California Restaurant Association-sponsored webinar.
Gas purchases have been down consistently in 2012, and Americans pumped less gas over the summer than is typical, McNamara said, adding that if people driving less typically means they eat out less, noting that it could also affect overall tourism.
The session included a deep dive into MasterCard’s SpendingPulse, which reports on national retail sales based on aggregate sales data. The combination of MasterCard credit card usage, as well as survey-based estimates for other forms of payment allows the company to deliver statistically relevant reports on past spending, as well as projections for future performance in the restaurant sector specifically.
McNamara reported many consumer spending trends, such as:
- Nationally, restaurants saw 5.3 percent growth in the third quarter.
- Though casual, family and quickservice sectors are performing well, fine dining has shown consistent year over year declines in the third quarter.
- In California, quickservice restaurants are outperforming full-service.
- U.S. consumers will spend $76.7 billion in November in December, with December ranking as the top month for restaurant spending in the year.
Download the full webinar here.
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