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Americans Expect to Eat Out Less in 2014 [POLL/AUDIO]

A new survey finds diners may be tightening their belts a bit more this year.

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Boom restaurant People eating in the Boom restaurant in Madrid
Luis Davilla/Cover, Getty Images

A consumer poll done by consulting firm AlixPartners finds people are expected to spend nearly 2 percent less per restaurant meal in 2014.

“For the past four to five years the trend has always been, ‘I’m going to spend four to five percent less,’ and this year is the first year where that number is almost actually double at nine percent,” said Molly Harnischfeger, a researcher at AlixPartners.

Only about one in 10 people surveyed said they plan to spend more on dining out this year.  Fifty-nine percent expect to spend the same amount as they did in 2013.

According to the survey, one of the hardest hit areas is casual dining, which include chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Houlihan’s.

So what’s behind the projected decline in dining out?

Harnischfeger said the restaurant industry may be suffering disproportionately from the perception of a weak economy.  But she said there may be some difference between what those in the survey say they will do and whether they will actually go out fewer times to eat.

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