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The restaurant industry overindulged — and now it’s paying the price | The Washington Post

So what is going on with diners? Experts say a confluence of factors is likely driving their decision-making. For starters, many restaurants have seen high workforce turnover of late and are relying heavily on part-time help, leading to an uneven eating experience, said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst for NPD.

“They’ve not paid enough attention to service,” Riggs said. “It makes up such a big part of the value equation.”

Meanwhile, there is an especially wide price chasm between eating out and cooking at home. According to the Agriculture Department, “food-at-home prices” dropped 1.3 percent in 2016 — the first yearly decline recorded since 1967. But restaurant prices swung the other direction, rising 2.6 percent.

It’s possible many consumers are simply reacting to the fact that it makes more financial sense to fire up the frying pan and chop their own vegetables.

Plus, grocery stores have been making a concerted effort to snare the dollars that you might once have spent at restaurants. Kroger, SuperValu and Whole Foods Market are among the chains that have been angling to get you to buy their prepared foods on the nights you would otherwise have gone to a carryout spot.

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The restaurant industry overindulged — and now it’s paying the price – The Washington Post.