Americans are spending an increasing amount of money at restaurants. According to data gathered by the American Enterprise Institute, Americans typically spent more on groceries than dining out, but that is set to change in 2015. In 1992, a Retail Trade and Food Services report found that Americans spent around $162 at the grocery store for every $100 they spent at restaurants. However, in January, for the first time ever, sales at restaurants ($50.475 billion) surpassed those at grocery stores ($50.466 billion.)
Unsurprisingly, this surge in spending has had a positive impact on the restaurant industry's bottom line. A new report from the Wall Street Journal notes that because Americans are spending more on dining out, restaurant owners have been able to hire more front and back of house staff. Restaurant operators are also paying their staff more as a way to decrease turnover rates. Since 2010, restaurants have "hired at a faster pace than the typical company."
Still, while paychecks are on the rise, many of those who work in the industry continue to struggle financially. The majority of restaurant workers do not receive benefits like health insurance. This has lead to cross-country strikes and protests by fast food workers. Check out the chart below: