The Indicator: Sales at full-service restaurants were 8.7% higher in January from the year before.
What It Means: We’re not just eating out more (something we quickly give up in hard times) but we’re patronizing more expensive sit-down restaurants, a strong sign that we’re less nervous about our wallets. The flip side to this: fewer Americans are hitting up limited-service restaurants. Sales growth at full-service restaurants is currently 4% higher than fast-food joints.
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