Although consumers said they intended to spend less on dining out during September, actual restaurant spending increased for the month. While highly correlated over the past few years, the recent disconnect between intended and actual spending suggests “the new normal” for consumer purchasing patterns has not yet emerged.

“Consumers are still sorting out their post-recession priorities,” said Todd Hooper, Kurt Salmon partner and retail expert. “Spending patterns – for eating out, buying another handbag and many other discretionary purchases – are still in a state of flux.”

Still, consumer sentiment regarding eating out stayed the same from September to October, suggesting consumers will maintain their current restaurant spending during the holiday months.

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1 November 2010