Low-income restaurant customers are “more aggressively” controlling how much money they spend when dining out, according to the head of a restaurant company that owns some of the world’s leading brands.

John Peyton, the chief executive of Dine Brands Global Inc., which owns IHOP, Applebee’s, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, said during a recent call with investors that the company’s various restaurants have seen far fewer customers who earn less than $50,000 per year in the last quarter, and those who do dine at one of their restaurants are “more aggressively” watching how much they spend.

“The most impactful change in consumer behavior is clearly the $50,000 and below segment,” Peyton said during the call, according to MarketWatch.

The president and CEO of Darden Restaurants, which owns several casual-dining and fine-dining brands, said on an investor call that restaurants have seen a spike in customers earning more than $150,000 per year in the last quarter, while customers earning less than $75,000 fell “at every brand,” and was most noticeable in the company’s fine-dining restaurants.

“In 2024, inflation is the dominant narrative,” David Portalatin, food industry analyst and senior vice president at market research company Circana, said in an interview with MarketWatch.

He added that this is one reason that families who earn less than $50,000 per year have cut down on spending, noting that “there’s a little sticker shock at the end of the meal.”

Theodore Bunker ✉

Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.


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