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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

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor. The AG's office subsequently turned down the offer, saying it wants to conduct its own probe.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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