Friday, April 23, 2010

Leading Indicators

Chain restaurant earnings are trending up in the first quarter, which has got to be the surest sign yet that the economy is starting to turn around.

But, you can't just look at the revenue figures for restaurant chains, for that's only part of the story.  Diners eat out more often and buy a little more expensive entrees and maybe a little nicer bottle of wine, so the total check goes up.  The waiters have more tables with bigger checks, so their tip take-home is higher.  And they go down the road at closing time for shots at the local afterhours bar, and the bar owner's take is bigger, too.  And the next day the DUI lawyer's fees see a big spike . . . etc. etc.

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