"Commodity costs began easing in 2015, and grocers started lowering their prices. The result was a pricing gap with restaurants that widened to as much as 460 basis points during some months last year.

The pricing gap is getting much of the blame for a corresponding slowdown in restaurant traffic and same-store sales. Same-store sales peaked in January 2015, slowed throughout the year and turned south for much of 2016, and sales have been in decline since, according to all major industry same-store sales trackers."

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