The gloomy economy has put a damper on travel plans for this Labor Day weekend, according to a survey of 1,004 adults conducted for AAA by IHS Global, reports CNNMoney. AAA expects a total of 31.5 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles away from home between September 1 and September 5. That's down 2.4 percent from last year, when 32.3 million Americans traveled for Labor Day. Despite the anticipated decline in overall travel, the number of Americans traveling by car over Labor Day weekend is expected to edge up 0.5 percent to 27.3 million, while higher airfares will result in fewer flights. AAA expects air travel to drop 1.9 percent to 2.5 million passengers this year.
Food plays a central role during Labor Day celebrations, and new research by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) finds that 35 percent of consumers say they will dine out and/or use restaurant takeout or delivery for a picnic, cookout or outdoor event this Labor Day weekend; 25 percent plan to dine at a restaurant over the Labor Day weekend; 15 percent plan to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant for a cookout or picnic; 5 percent plan to both dine out and order takeout; men are somewhat more likely than women to use restaurant services for Labor Day weekend; 40 percent versus 30 percent; middle-aged adults (45 to 54 years of age) are more likely than other age groups to dine at a restaurant to celebrate Labor Day (32 percent); and younger adults (18 to 34 years of age) are more likely to use takeout or delivery for a picnic, cookout or other outdoor dining event for the holiday weekend (21 percent).
"This Labor Day weekend is shaping up to be a busy one for restaurants, as more than one-third of Americans plan to dine out or order takeout," says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for NRA. "This is especially good news for restaurants located at destinations along the Eastern seaboard that are eager to welcome guests after Hurricane Irene," he adds.Whether you go out to eat or fire up the barbecue at home, all of us at Food Processing wish you a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend.