Restaurant Visits Down, But Trend Eased In Spring

Visits to restaurants have fallen now for two straight years, although the decline lessened in the spring quarter, according to a report released Thursday by market research firm The NPD Group.

Traffic picked up for morning meals — a major focus for fast-food chains Burger King and McDonald's — but overall restaurant visits fell by 1 percent in the three-month period ending in June, the firm said. That was better than the 3 percent drop last year compared with 2008's second quarter.

Although traffic was down, spending rose 1 percent.

People have been limiting their trips out to eat to save money in the weak economy, which has hurt restaurants at all levels, from high-end to fast-food. The largest drop was in traffic at schools, universities, hospitals and other places that sell food but are not considered commercial restaurants; traffic there fell 6 percent.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Bloomberg Businessweek.