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November a weak month for restaurants

November a weak month for restaurants

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After a bump in restaurant traffic during October, the numbers fell last month to their lowest levels since February, according to data from GuestMetrics.

During the four weeks ending Dec. 1, traffic to full-service restaurants and bars dropped 3.3 percent. Casual dining spots saw traffic decline 3.6 percent. Bars and clubs fared even worse, off 7.1 percent.

The late night (after 10 p.m.) slot has taken the biggest hit, down 8.5 percent for the first 11 months of the year compared with 2012. GuestMetrics points to significant economic pressure on young adults as a primary reason for the lackluster performance.

A number of factors are likely driving these numbers, including an extension of the holiday shopping season into Thanksgiving; the need to shift discretionary spending from dining and drinking over to gift buying; and overall weak discretionary spending during the month.

A very slim silver lining in the cloud: Breakfast traffic is up ever so slightly for the year at 0.7 percent, and happy hour numbers are up 1.2 percent.

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