Nationally, restaurant revenue is up thanks to inflation, but dining out is still on the decline. Melissa Stewart, Senior Executive Director of Texas Restaurant Association - Houston Area, says things are looking up here, but record inflation isn't helping ." A lot of Houston restaurants are saying they are fully staffed, and that's really good. We do know that the revenue is up - but unfortunately revenue and profit are NOT the same thing!" This year Thanksgiving is a big boost - in and out of the restaurant.
"More and more consumers are giving up the headache of 'Is-the-turkey-perfect?' and 'starting-every-dish-from-scratch' and are taking advantage of these pre-put together meals from local restaurants." Also, of course, dining out for the feast. She says they're still coming back from the Covid Lockdown, but there is a pick up in patrons. "People want to be out. They're tired of cooking --- we all are! Certainly the higher prices at the grocery store make eating out seem a bit more economical. So a few more people just figure they'll go on out!"
She says she hears from member restaurants there are some bumps in the road. "There are a bit fewer big parties this year so far. Some of the Event Dining engagements are down. But, overall, we're moving in the right direction and that's what I want to see!" Area restaurants are still being squeezed with higher wages, but many are reporting more patrons trickling in.