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Americans Are Frequenting Restaurants More Than They Did Before the Recession

Over the past year, Americans visited restaurants 61.1 billion times.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People are dining out more now than they were any time before the 2008 recession. A spokesperson for the global research firm NPD tells the Chicago Tribune that between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015, Americans visited restaurants 61.1 billion times. The average diner is spending more too: They are paying 2.4 percent more this year than they did last year, making it the largest spending bump in half a decade. Food industry experts say this is a "promising sign of economic recovery."

The global restaurant scene isn't seeing as much economic success, however. NPD found that around the world, restaurant chains saw "flat or declining numbers of visits." Chains are frequently considered to be the "most resilient" segment of the restaurant industry. On the plus side, in several countries, the number of people visiting restaurants at lunch time has increased.

The numbers are not surprising considering that for the first time ever, Americans are spending more at restaurants than at grocery stores. A report released in March shows that $50.475 billion was spent in restaurants in January 2015, while only $50.466 billion was spent at grocery stores.