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A waiter in 2008 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The golden age of restaurants may be over, thanks to the collision of oversaturated markets, rising labor and food costs, changing consumer loyalties, a shrinking middle class, and declines in mall traffic, WashPost's Laura Reiley writes.

Why it matters: The restaurant industry can be a precursor to a bear market or recession.

  • Restaurant growth has already exceeded population growth for years, according to analyst David Henkes of Technomic.
  • And it'll be 5 to 7 years before the huge millennial generation fits neatly in the spending sweet spot.

Between the lines: The Post's thesis comes from “Burn the Ice: The American Culinary Revolution and Its End,” a book out July 9 from James Beard Award-winning food writer Kevin Alexander.

  • Alexander argues that since 2006, U.S. restaurants have enjoyed a transformative period.
  • Among the innovations: "'fine casual dining' .... craft cocktails, farm-to-table dining, the hipification of non-Western food, the audacity of food truck culture, the democratization of criticism via social media."

Now, the shake-up: "There are too many restaurants,” Alexander told The Post. "There hasn’t been a recession since 2008, and a recession gets the people who aren’t serious out of the way. Austerity breeds creativity."

Go deeper: We’ve just lived through the greatest period of restaurant growth in U.S. history. Here’s why it’s ending.

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Health

Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine

Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna announced that it plans to file with the FDA Monday for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine, which the company said has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.

Why it matters: Moderna will become the second company to file for a vaccine EUA after Pfizer did the same earlier this month, potentially paving the way for the U.S. to have two COVID-19 vaccines in distribution by the end of the year. The company said its vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID cases.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.

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