The Casual Dining Secular Decline 

A visual look at traffic trends 2001-2013

Its not that surprising that we are seeing a number of activists investors get involved with restaurant companies that do not pay attention to the MACRO trends.

The Casual Dining industry has seen traffic declines for 9 of the last 13 years

One recent bullish data point, however, is the 2 point sequential acceleration in the Black Box Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index, which resembles consumer willingness to spend on eating out.

At 95, this marks a 3-year high in the index suggesting consumers are willing to eat out. Unfortunately, these consumers appear to be frequenting chains outside of the casual dining industry.