During the third quarter of 2012, the U.S. labor market showed signs of stagnation. Unemployment decreased, but this was primarily due to people leaving the labor force. Although consumer spending did not seem affected in the first part of the quarter, economists fear that consumers will cut back in the face of increasing gas prices and slowing income growth.
This is likely to translate into weaker traffic and sales for restaurants. Operators are also contending with rising commodity prices, as a result of the ongoing drought in the United States. Restaurant owners must find creative ways to maintain margins and boost customer traffic.