We’ve seen a mixed bag when it comes to economic news over the past few weeks with consumer prices continuing to rise at restaurants but restaurant spending stagnating through August. According to the Consumer Price Index report for August as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), prices at full-service restaurants rose by 0.6% last month while year over year prices at the same businesses jumped by 4.9 percent. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that retail sales at foodservice and drinking places remained flat in August compared to July. Economy-wide, sales increased by 0.7 percent in August and 15 percent over the past 12 months. Notwithstanding, a new report from the Job Creators Network Foundation (JCNF), reveals that the optimism of small business owners took a hit in August as well. According to their Monthly Monitors Small Business Intelligence Quotient, small business optimism dropped sharply by 4.1 points in August to a new low of 59.4, the lowest reading reported by the index to date.