Worst Restaurant Tailspin since 2009/2010 Crushes Lower End

“Rising household debt load” likely to “suppress consumption, including eating out.”

So another chain restaurant is “preparing” to bite the dust. Ignite Restaurant Group, which operates the Joe’s Crab Shack chain with 113 locations and the Brick House Tavern chain with 25 locations, and used to operate the Romano’s Macaroni Grill chain with 150 locations until it sold it in 2015, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, “people familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg.

In the quarter ended September 26, 2016, the last quarter for which the company bothered to release an earnings report, same-store sales fell 6.8%; total revenues plunged 10% to $120 million.

A liquidity problem turns into a solvency problem: It had $729,000 of cash and about $26 million of “available borrowing capacity under its current credit facility.” Not exactly a lot, considering that the company lost $15.2 million in Q3, up from a loss of $4 million in Q3 2015.

It had $179 million in liabilities, including $113 million in long-term debt. It shares, which had traded as high as $19 in 2013, have consistently trended lower since, became a penny stock last year, and are now just about worthless (2 cents).

For chain restaurants, it’s really tough out there.

Industry-wide, same-store foot traffic fell 3.3% in April year-over-year. For the past three months, traffic is down 3.9%. Same-store sales in April fell 1.0% are down 1.8% for the past three months, according to TDn2K’s Restaurant Industry Snapshot.

Food sales and alcohol sales both were down. As traffic dropped, the average check increased 2.3%, less than the rate of inflation.

Q1 had been the fifth quarter in a row of year-over-year sales declines. Now everyone is hoping Q2 will be different. But April’s numbers aren’t auspicious. And no one wants six quarters in a row of this. “The last time the industry experienced a similar period was in 2009 and the first half of 2010,” the March report had pointed out. April has moved the needle further in that direction.

There were some regional differences:

  • The least bad region was California where traffic fell only 0.7% and same store sales inched up 1.9%.
  • The worst region was the Southwest where traffic dropped 4.9% and sales 2.7%.
  • Sales fell in three-quarters of the nearly 200 markets.

The segments with sales increases:

Fine dining (includes some expensive chain steak houses) and upscale casual. They offer a “more experience-based dining proposition for a less price-sensitive consumer.” So the folks with money are still spending it on restaurants. Family dining also showed sales increases.

The segments with sales declines – the lower end:

Fast casual and quick service – “After years of positive growth and being one of the top performing industry segments, quick service has experienced a downturn in 2017,” the report said. And then there’s casual dining for which “struggles continue although the rate of decline has lessened somewhat,” with average same-store sales in 2017 down 2.9% compared to the 4.1% dive in the second half of 2016.

The report, which is based on data from over 27,000 restaurant locations and 155 brands with $67 billion in annual revenues, gingerly blamed the Easter holiday because it occurred in April rather than in March (as last year). For the largest segments of the industry – quick service and casual dining – the Easter holiday likely hurt sales. But the smaller segments – fine dining, upscale casual, and family dining – “appear to have been positively affected by the shift in the Easter holiday.”

Under this theory, March should have benefited from the shift of the Easter holidays. But in March foot traffic fell 3.4% and same-store sales fell 1.1%. And in February, foot traffic plunged 5.0% and same-store sales 3.7%. The debacle was blamed on $65 billion in delayed tax refunds from the IRS. But those refunds started gushing out in the second half of February and were caught up by the end of February, and so March and April should have been, and were expected to be, the months when all this cash would suddenly show up. But no.

There’s hope, however. Of sorts. The report pointed out that “sales started softening considerably” last June. “This translates into easier comparisons when calculating this year’s sales growth rates.” So the numbers in the second half this year might still be crappy, but because the second half last year was so terrible, the year-over-year comparison might look a little better. That’s the hope.

TDn2K’s economist Joel Naroff blamed the slow growth of the economy in Q1 on “mediocre” consumer spending. And this might be an issue going forward: “The rising household debt load is likely to suppress consumption, including eating out.”

Ah, consumer debt, after years of loading up on it, is now hobbling discretionary spending. Who would have thought? And he goes on:

“The hope that consumer and business spending will surge is probably just that, hope.”

“That said, the economy should rebound this quarter but it looks like we are in for another year of 2.25% growth [by comparison, in 2016, the economy grew only 1.6%]. While that pace is not likely to make anyone happy, it is enough for the labor market to tighten further and the Fed to continue raising rates, possibly as soon as June.”

And higher rates would be the next skillet to drop on our over-indebted chain restaurants. But they’re coming. Inflation pressures further up the pipeline rose the most in five years. Read…  The Fed Gets another Reason to Raise Rates and Unravel QE

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  72 comments for “Worst Restaurant Tailspin since 2009/2010 Crushes Lower End

  1. 2banana says:

    Chain low to mid resturant chains keep raising prices. Some to point of ridiculous – just look at red lobster menu.

    Add in obamacare and massive increases in the minimum wage in some states.

    People don’t have money anymore.

    Rock meet hard place.

    I try to stick with local mom and pop restaurants. Usually better quality at a lower price if you know where to go.

    • Paulo says:


      My wife and I frequent one of our local restaurants for a few reasons. The food is excellent, the portions are ample, and we know everyone who works there. As a result the dining experience isn’t some phony little snippet/hottie trying to push on us an over-priced special, rather, it starts with, “Nice to see you back, how have you been”?

      We will adjust our dining time when the tourists start to arrive….and they know this and treat us accordingly.

      I absolutely marvel at the cooks ability to produce so many different dishes at the same time. The wait staff (sometimes a school kid) is polite. We tip very well and still come out ahead of a ‘chain restaurant’ rip off.


    • alex in san jose says:

      2banana – Exactly. I’m trying to save money and restaurants are right out with me. But if I feel like a restaurant meal, two places spring to mind: City Fish, in downtown San Jose, where you can get a nice meal big enough for anyone who’s not super-hungry, for about $6, or spending literally only a few dollars at a lunch truck.

      • thelocalpragmatist says:

        Alex…Original Joe’s still in business? Last ate there in…1970.

  2. Frederick says:

    Who actually goes to these chain restaurants anyway? It boggles my mind since I’m 63 and only been to a Red Lobster once Small family run establishments for me or my own barbecue thank you Walked into a Chipotles once looked at the prices and proceeded to leave the premises

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You’re not alone. But those restaurants in the report generated $67 billion in annual revenues, so a lot of people are still eating there.


      • Tired says:

        67 billion in gross sales? What’s the net profit in this area?

        How much actual pure profit was made in this industry?
        1 billion? 2 billion?

        This sector is a useful barometer of consumer spending but the country could do without the really really bad food.

        Didn’t Apple alone bring in 200 billion in sales in 2016? My guess is people are buying i-phones with their money. Perhaps they’ve tired of salty, fatty, gmo laden food?

    • Ivy says:

      Chain restaurants in malls will suffer even more, as the foot traffic disappears with store closings. People notice those ever-higher prices and say “I can make that at home cheaper, in a cleaner environment without dingy booths and sticky menus.” Who pays $15 ($15!!!) for a hamburger in some anonymous restaurant when that same burger was half price, and still over-priced, just months ago?

      What will happen to all those budding actors and writers, I mean servers, when more restaurants retrench and then finally close? The service industry employment growth will prove to be illusory, and just how many baristas does the world need anyway.

      • Pavel says:

        Not only “cheaper and cleaner” at home but with better quality ingredients (or even organic if one wishes). I know a lot of my friends are really concerned about pesticides, hormones, GMO farming, and general low-quality foods. Who knows what crap they are using in restaurant kitchens?

        I can get grass-fed high quality steak in my market and a bottle of decent wine, plus make a great salad for say $25 at home. The same meal in a resto with tax and tip would be $60 easy. Plus at home I control the music :)

        • Mickey says:

          I realized this disconect woth costs several years ago which I was “batching it”-went out for a burger dinner with one beer at the clubhouse where I lived. 22 bucks with tax and gratuity (automatically aded in and charged to account)

          The next week I went to Safeway and bought the best beef at 4.99 a pound, a bag of fries for 2.50 and a six pack for 7 bucks-thats 15 with tax and added a jar of pickles, tomato and onion and lettuce and the bill was 22.

          Had dinner and next day lunch, and 4 beers leftover.

          The shock is taking the kids and grandkids out for dinner. Mega bucks.

          So I buy babybacks and potatos and dogs and burgers for grandkids–way ahead with cost and quality and we can sit around and drink beers afterwards.

          Or buy a costco chicken for 5 bucks and avoid the 18.95 price plus tax and tip at restaurants.

      • Mel says:

        What indeed will happen to the budding actors and writers? Somebody adapted Oscar Wilde once: “The only thing worse than being exploited by the System is not being exploited by the System.”
        I finished Neville Shute’s novel A Town Like Alice the other day. The second half is about a young woman plowing her inheritance back into a grubby Australian cow town and transforming the place. This what we want economics to be like. We can ponder that and try to figure out how it goes wrong.

    • Petunia says:

      I love Chipotle and it’s a good value for the fresh ingredients but $2 extra for avocado is too much. I usually get everything that goes with a burrito bowl, but many people only ask for half the ingredients, which is a big money maker for Chipotle.

      • JB says:

        You are experiencing a pernicious form of getting less for your money . to wit: “shrinkflation”. This type of inflation is ubiquitous and comes in many forms, from food manufacturers replacing a more costly ingredient with a cheaper substitute to companies reducing their packaging size but keeping their price the same. Not sure if the CPI adjusts for this.

  3. Meme Imfurst says:

    I shop at both conventional groceries and the so called ‘restaurant suppliers’ like GFS. Personally I stare at prices lately, turn a walk away. I know some consumers do not look at prices, they pick the item and in the basket it goes, good for them. But when I see a bag of 3 heads of Romaine go from 2.99 to 4.99 in one week, I have to wonder. A cucumber from .59 to .89, zucchini from 1.59 to 2.25, and on and on and THIS IS SPRING harvest time. And that is just the produce section. These are prices that both the restaurants and consumers have to absorb before there is “free cash flow”.

    The FEDs mandate to create inflation, as certifiably insane as that is, is alive, well, and working as designed. And no one tries to stop them from their madness.

    Wolf, the word Hope is stamped everywhere. WELL I heard that 8 years ago, and 16, and 20, and 30 years ago, and the ship has not come in…not for the average person or mom and pop business and that is who we are talking about.

    • Old Farmer says:

      The price of fresh produce (Romaine, cucumbers) is very sensitive to weather. California has had a record wet year. At my location (Sacramento Valley) we had 42 inches of rain vs. average 17 inches. This has totally screwed up planting schedules. I’m seven weeks behind getting my summer crops in the ground. When tomato growers contract to canneries, the contract specifies planting and harvest dates so that the cannery can keep a steady supply. That system is a total failure this year. The price of Romaine will come back down. Canned tomato products may take a while.

      • BaritoneWoman says:

        A great guide for checking the current prices (and the reasons for such prices) is Produce Alliance.
        You can visit them at:
        Scroll all the way down and you can sign up for their weekly Market Report.

  4. nick kelly says:

    So if restaurants are crashing, and cars, and malls and condos and 99 percent of the stocks (see WS last ten reports) where is inflation coming from?
    If the FED raises rates 3 times just to rein in the FAANGs, where does that leave the above?

    Of course these rates are completely artificial and were only introduced as an emergency measure to stop a deflationary collapse, but has the threat passed?

    • TJ Martin says:

      Where is the inflation coming from you ask ? From the wave of a magic wand by the numbers wizards and the slight of hand coming from the financial Smoke & Mirrors mavens … not to mention all those Keebler Elves ( most of which are probably illegal ) busily building and expanding Potemkin Village ;-)

    • Petunia says:

      Inflation is rampant at the grocery store and it’s not just food, it’s everything they sell. The two bottles of laundry detergent that usually last a month, lasted about two weeks, because I didn’t notice how much smaller they had gotten.

      Fast food has also risen in price, a chicken basket that was $10 is now $16. And then there’s insurance, and utilities, all up.

      • DAvid says:

        Yes it started with smaller packages then the price increases. Every other nation/economy that has experienced this type of money printing sees inflation go parabolic right about where we are at right now. (Weimer, Zimbabwe, etc) By this analysis we should see the $32 chicken by year end. God’s speed all

    • Mickey says:

      Healthcare-and thats not in CPI as the Obamacare is deemed to be an improvement

    • Frederick says:

      Tuition and healthcare for example inflating quite a bit

    • Maximus Minimus says:

      That is if you believed there was a deflation. There was a housing market decline, and that has been successfully re-inflated to height unseen. The rest is a pickpocketing trick, watch my hand (focus on CPI) while picking your pockets (your savings).

    • Gadi says:

      can you say $1000 for an iphone ?

      • Frederck says:

        Yes I was considering actually owning one for the first time and saw that and decided my wives 10 year old Siemens phone which still works great will do Thank you

  5. r cohn says:

    What happens to the upscale segment in a bear market in financial assets?

    • TJ Martin says:

      The more relevant question might be …. where’s all the up turn in upscale dining happening ? Cause to be blunt … it sure as ( censored ) aint happenin anywhere here in Colorado .

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Don’t make it look like I (censored) your comment. You can write “sure as hell,” no problem. Or “sure as heck.” But “sure as (censored)” doesn’t fly.

        • Mickey says:

          Go to Naples Florida or Scottsdale in Season

        • TJ Martin says:

          Apologies . I was not in any way trying to imply that you were censoring me … so if anyone took my use of ( censored ) that way mea culpa .. I was self ( censoring ) … not Wolf ;-)

      • Mike G says:

        Upscale restaurants frequented by affluent locals in Santa Barbara seem to be very busy, even as the tourist places are slowing down.

  6. MC says:

    This may be a good time to ask: what does “experience-based dining” exactly means?

    • TheDona says:

      Experience based dining is where you actually wear nice clothes, have a cocktail at the bar before being seated, take your time ordering and eating. It is at least a two hour experience. Maybe spend another hour or 2 back in the cocktail lounge if they have music.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You go there and have a good time.

  7. Mike Earussi says:

    Low end chain restaurants cater more to the lower middle class with less than 50K/year income. They are the ones that are suffering most under the double digit % rent increases each year which their (non-existent) salary increases can’t keep up with. With only so much money to go around, every time the rent goes up other discretionary spending takes a hit which inevitably affects restaurants.

  8. Bobber says:

    The 10% are doing great; the rest are barely getting by. The restaurant stats prove that out.

    When stock prices drop, the Fed knows its game over for the 10%, so that’s why they’ll do everything possible to prevent that from happening. They are raising rates now not to pop the bubble, but to prevent it from rising so fast.

    The Fed is at the wheel, but Wall Street has control of the throttle. Wall Street makes the car faster and faster, but the wheels lose traction when confidence is highest. The Fed will attempt to manage the fish-tailing, but the chances of a crash are pretty good at that point.

    • Frederick says:

      WOW you sure give the criminal parasitic FED a lot of credit NOT me Maybe Jon Corzine is a good guy too but somehow I doubt that

  9. Petunia says:

    This year we chose a local restaurant over the expensive chain steakhouse for our anniversary. The meal and the setting were lovely and it was slightly more than half the price of the chain steakhouses. The whole experience was better than the chains, the meal included the sides, the service was more professional, and they weren’t constantly up selling you. Why would I ever go back to the chain?

  10. michael Engel says:

    I remember a MCD add from years ago showing a mom, walking
    into MCD restaurant with few kids, behind, in yellow raincoats, like a family of ducks, in the rain.
    I see no children in the morning at MCD.
    Only upper middle class retired people, hanging around for hours,
    – just like millennials in Starbuck, – on one cup of coffee.
    The different is that senior coffee cost 95 cents in my area.
    The owner don’t mind, because otherwise his restaurant, will
    have a crew of 20 – 30 service people, but no customers.
    He is a very nice guy, but when he says thank you, come back
    again, he doesn’t look in the eyes.

  11. Realist says:

    We just returned from a trip to San Diego where we went to Happy Hour at an upscale restaurant in La Jolla, a haven for uber wealthy millionaires and tourists. This place had a great ocean view, discounted drinks and food. And yet we were about the only ones in the whole place. Seems to speak volumes as to the mood out there and it’s not good.

  12. Lauretta says:

    I live near the US border and went down yesterday to pick up a parcel. Stopped at the local grocery store there to pick up a few items that are normally cheaper (ie. dairy products). They were not so I took a close look at prices, even on things I don’t normally buy.

    It was stunning to see the price of food throughout the store compared to Canada. Things were 10% to 20% more expensive in US dollars than I can buy it here in Cdn. dollars. This includes national brand name products sold in both countries and produce that comes from California. Those wanting to eat healthy will pay dearly but even the junk food seemed more expensive as well.

    What the heck is going on?

    • Frederick says:

      Good question With the strong dollar things should be going down in price in the states not up right? Go figure but I could care less I left that asylum two years ago thankfully

  13. Keith says:

    I’m going to La Jolla this weekend. Looking for available reservations was difficult for Saturday night. I started looking on Tuesday. Found a reservation but not at my desired time. It is Mother’s day weekend which may be busier than the norm.

  14. Ehawk says:

    Not in California SF Bay Area… where everything is more expensive from laundry soap to a bag of chips. Yet you go out to eat and can’t even find a place to park on a typical Friday or Saturday with a good 30 min wait.

    • alex in san jose says:

      Ehawk – keep in mind out here in the Bay Area, we’ve got the cream of the crop of 20-somethings, who are making $100k+ a year, and think they’re going to do that forever and ever, with a 10%-15% raise each year … they’re single, code all day, use all those apps that take the place of their mommies (do the dishes, do the laundry, go get ’em more Cheesy Poofs) and they’re golden – so to them, eating out almost every meal seems like a no-brainer.

      They’re not looking at how they’ll be “stale goods” once they reach 40, or when they’ve learned how to talk to the opposite sex and married and have a kid or two to raise, etc.

      Nope not now they’re the beautiful people, and nothing tops off a 60-hour week coding with your buddies like going out to eat at an impressive place with your buddies.

  15. HB Guy says:

    Although not specifically mentioned above, In’N’Out is doing VERY well wherever they’re located. Our store here in Huntington Beach is busy at all hours of the day.

    I don’t know what category they fit into, but the food is definitely NOT expensive, the quality is excellent and clientele seems to be drawn from a broad cross-section of the population. I agree with the person who commented above that $15 for a burger verges on crazy, especially when a Double-Double is only a little more than $3.

  16. Old Farmer says:

    This is slightly off-topic, but there is a useful social role of the low-end chain restaurants in that they provide clean (usually) public restrooms, which otherwise are hard to come by. If I’m on a road trip and need a restroom, I’ll stop at a fast food place. I don’t eat their food, but on my way out I’ll buy a cup of coffee as token compensation. In poor neighborhoods, fast food places are sometimes the only place homeless people have to wash their face and hands. Closing these restaurants has social repercussions beyond just the job loss of the workers.

    • Petunia says:

      I don’t think this is off topic. In minority neighborhoods there are usually many fast food places and no supermarkets. Poor people need to eat the food that is available. Gas station convenience stores are the grocery stores in many poor areas.

      • nick kelly says:

        For once, Petunia, actually a couple of times, (we both like Uruguay) we agree.
        I happen to detest holidays- and I’m not homeless or poor but I salute McD for being open almost always.

  17. Orthomama says:

    Maybe people are just bored with mid-level chains and are going elsewhere. Maybe this isn’t and economic event as much as an evolution of what people want – and mid-level chain restaurants aren’t it.
    I have a good friend who recently opened a coffee shop/ small plate restaurant that is reasonably priced, hip, has free wifi and caters to home office folks. He is killing it. The whole shop local culture is taking off in my area (inner loop Dallas), local people with good ideas are creating good businesses that people want to support. Mom and pops are doing great while chains (except Chipotle) are closing.

  18. Kasadour says:

    I was reading about the student debt debacle recently. $1.8 Trillion outstanding, the average student debtor owing five figures -an average of $30,000, 47 million debtors, wages not commensurate with housing cost in markets similar to where we live, that is IF they land a job.

    How do these “quick service” restaurants think they will stay in business catering to this demographic?

    Even the hipster, foodie food carts and trucks around here (Portland Or) are largely unaffordable.

    • nick kelly says:

      Student debt is the largest single ‘asset’ of the Fed govt. Honest.
      Wonder what it would fetch in the market?

      Goldie might pay 10 cents on the dollar, but what would they do to no- pays? Sell them to ISIL?

  19. Tod Gordon says:

    What boggles my mind is how in a floundering industry do they add literally millions of waiters/waitresses and bartenders to the employment numbers? These have to be fake jobs. If only someone would rat them out if they are making stuff up.

    • nick kelly says:

      There is no distinction between part time and full time, a job is a job, which is absurd. If you order a pizza and they bring you half or just a slice is that the same?
      This is the biggest con of govt job stats.

  20. PrototypeGirl1 says:

    I went to Abuelos a couple of weeks ago it was great, 3 sample salsas, I ordered a huge platter, there were delicious stuffed peppers, enchiladas, lots of stuff including guacamole and sour cream it was less than $20.
    Taking our health and energy back, imo is the most important thing we can do as individuals to improve our economy. A couple of months ago I started taking a beef collegan product. I don’t take any medications so I am free to experiment with body cleansing, and rebuilding. The collegan is remarkable for giving good energy, rebuilding the body, speeding up the metabolism, releasing inflammation, pain. Collegan is made from beef bones, cartlidge, ligaments, the inner skin of the animal. We used to have this in our diet when we made our own soups and stews and cooked with the bones in the mix. The nutrients just aren’t in the food without the bones.
    There are a lot of things we can share about how to be healthy and strong. People need real information, real solutions, and a couple of scoops of collegan is just that.

  21. ML says:

    It is all too easy to pinpoint declining discretionary expenditure as the cause of a drop off in demand.

    The USA has acquired a reputation for obesity. Perhaps more of its population is realising that the cheapest and best form of health-care is to be responsible for your health. And that growing minority has got to the tipping point for customer demand for eating out in fast-food joints.

    Speaking as someone who has always been into healthy-food and whose daily intake for more than 30 years has been organic vegetarian whole-food – long before it became mainstream – I am now into the new wave of healthy eating which involves reducing and limiting the quantity of acid-forming ingredients in my body. Since I am often way ahead of the game, now being even more careful about what I eat and in the case of food cooked by others particularly careful about what I want to accommodate of others decisions about what goes into my body, I predict the path I am now on to accelerate in popularity. The end of the junk food industry is nigh!

    • james wordsworth says:

      Interestingly, the USA without a single payer system and with the highest health care costs, seems to have the most overweight, least healthy population. Seems to contradict the idea that having high health care costs would get people to “behave” better.

    • PrototypeGirl1 says:

      I doubt if the low acid forming, organic vegetarian whole food diet is going to see a wave of people joining in, sounds more like a recipe for antidepressants, or maybe the diet they put you on before they insert the mind control chip. I know three people who are vegetarian all of them have serious health problems, one had a heart valve replacement, one a double mastectomy, the other is scheduling hip replacement.

      • Reality Checker says:

        “I know three people who are vegetarian all of them have serious health problems . . .”

        What many vegetarians don’t realize is there are some essential amino acids and fats that you simply cannot get from a vegetarian diet and those missing nutrients are critical to good health. There’s a reason mankind has evolved as a meat eater . . .

  22. R Davis says:

    “same-store sales fell 6.8%; total revenue plunged 10% to $120 million.”

    Their costs went up, so they put their prices up.
    Their customer base got sick of eating the same food & moved on.
    They increased their salary base, without a sufficient profit base.

    Who knows what went wrong, all due to a lack of insight on the part of management & not the customer base.

    Chain Restaurants should know .. MacDonald restaurants do not make their money from the sale of $2.75 burgers. MacDonald’s restaurants are in fact Property Investment disguised as a profitable chain restaurant conglomerate. Look at their real estate asset base – their restaurants are situated at the best addresses in main streets in prominent city’s & neighborhoods all around the world.

    Crying “household debt is up & therefore” is yet another massive cop out on the part of the financial world, who only know to point the finger in every direction but themselves.
    “it wasn’t me”
    “it wasn’t us”
    They cry continuously instead of looking for the leak in the roof & fixing it.

  23. R Davis says:

    Such is MacDonald’s good fortune .. their customer base is not the kids & teens .. but middle aged & older persons .. professional people looking to eat light & quick .. simplicity .. variety delivered quickly is their winning game.

  24. PK says:

    My friend writes liar loans to anyone wanting to open a $15 burger hole.
    His overlords told him to turn down nobody.
    True story.

  25. david says:

    To all my fellow Americans, its going to come crashing down. The numbers are false across the board. Happy landing!

  26. long wind willy says:

    The melt up and obfuscation of the free markets by rigging, bailing out select groups, and misinformation by creepy factions is the crash. Inflation destroyed latin america and the roman empire. now this crap is being shoved down the throats of western society. S&P 500 PE (price/earnings) ratio in last 40 years historically between 10-30. During the dotcom bubble reached 46. What is the PE ratio now 130? Melt up is the crash and it been ongoing for 100 years and now accelerated the last 10 years. What is the next move of the brilliant idiots running this sh*t show? jack up interest rates defaults will pour over and more bailouts will be needed for their banker buddys. Use ZIRP policy and inflation will eventually wipe all wealth from the general population – that is a cluster too. Hey good job there dipsh*ts. those degrees are good to w*pe your ass with. then again, pretending like you give a sh*t about society is just another bunch of BS from the group of dirtbags who sucked the bone marrow out of society and actually think they are smart enough to tell others how to live their own lives.

  27. Jo Se says:

    Prices outrageously high. Food quality dropping and making many ill. Portions so small that on a per pound basis the price is higher than gold. No, stop going to anyplace that doesn’t do it right. Wives. Stop complaint about cooking. You are hurting your family’s finances AND health.

  28. ExpatNJ says:

    After deductions and expenses, my family’s Tax Base is below the poverty line.

    – We don’t eat Fast-Food; it’s a premium-priced unhealthy product;
    – Restaurant dining (someone here used term, “Experience Based Dining”) is a no-go. We don’t even have the clothes to wear there;
    – We noticed LONG ago junk/snack food is alot cheaper than wholesome food. Why do you suppose that is? And, yes, even the price of that cr@p is rising;
    – Because of unexpected medical expenses, we now have to use a local Food Bank/Pantry to make ends meet. Better get up early; the line starts forming 6am.

    I’m retired Pharma on a fixed income; my wife holds FAA and Equipment Operator’s licenses. But, she can’t find work. Moved from NE to SE US for lower cost of living. Only benefit is we’re in a rural area with no farming/livestock restrictions, and 60mi from nearest major city. We’re in better shape than most. Those in or very near any megalopolis are fu@ked when SHTF.

    Only prediction I will confidently make is that because things are the way they are, they won’t stay the way they are – not for very much longer.

  29. mvojy says:

    Good thing there weren’t more states/cities raising their minimum wage to $15 or there would a MUCH bigger repercussion on the food services industry

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