Report: Government shut down helped put a crimp in bar sales

Geezers might recall a line from an old song that goes, “My pappy said, ‘Son, you’re going to drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop driving that hot-rod Lincoln.’’’

Photo taken from GuestMetrics’ website.

At first glance, a cynic might conclude that the recent temporary shut-down of the federal government would have driven a whole lot of frustrated folks to drinking but, apparently, that wasn’t the case. A snapshot analysis of restaurant and bar tabs from a firm named GuestMetrics LLC found that full-service restaurants and bars just had their softest quarter of the year, with the “uncertainty out of Washington’’ the likely culprit.

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“By far, the worst trends are being experienced by bars and clubs, with traffic 6 percent below  levels seen last year,’’ said Virginia-based GuestMetrics, which added that it collects check-level data from more than 10,000 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

GuestMetrics divides the restaurant day into five parts: breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late night. Over the past few months, late night traffic has taken a big hit, down 10 percent on a year-to-year comparison basis.

“We believe this is a further sign of a broad consumer base that remains under significant economic pressure, and is likely choosing to end their nights earlier in order to save money,’’ GuestMetrics said in its report.

Of course, there is another possible explanation here: People haven’t necessarily cut back on drinking; instead of heading out to a tavern or a saloon, they are opting to drink more at home.

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