Consumer spending at restaurants is expected to drop as spring turns to summer, as intent to spend continues a three-month slide after 18 months of steady growth, according to Kurt Salmon’s Restaurant Spending Trajectory.

The proprietary index, which tracks consumers’ intent to spend on dining out, has been highly correlated with personal consumption expenditures at restaurants over the last five years.

“Consumers are paying more for gas, food and clothing. That simply leaves less for restaurant spending,” said retail and restaurant strategist Todd Hooper. “Although reported spending has been rising strongly in 2011, this government data is subject to revision and we believe this level of growth is not sustainable. ”

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2 May 2011