The lunch rush is over
“The U.S. restaurant industry is in a funk. Blame it on lunch,” said Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal. Americans increasingly aren’t eating out during the workday, resulting in 433_million fewer lunchtime restaurant trips last year and $3.2_billion in lost business for eateries. That’s a significant blow for an industry that “has had little or no growth for a decade.” Cost is one factor. The average restaurant lunch now costs $7.59, up almost 20_percent since the recession, while falling grocery prices have made bringing a brown bag more economical. Work habits are also changing. The growing ranks of telecommuters simply eat at home. Other timepressed workers now see sneaking out of the office for a midday meal as a luxury—and a remnant of a different time. “I put [restaurant] lunch right up there with fax machines and pay phones,” said Jim Parks, a 55-year-old sales director in Detroit.