Just about one month ago, the 2018 Restaurant Industry Snapshot was released showing that restaurant sales were very strong throughout all of 2018. Same store sales grew by a full 2 percent in December, marking it the strongest monthly performance by the index in over three years. On an annual basis, 2018 same store sales boasted positive growth (0.7 percent) for the first time since 2015. However, guest counts continued to fall. And, is it any wonder with minimum wages and other labor costs continuing to rise? The US Department of Labor reported that the cost of food away from home increased 2.8 percent in 2018 and DOL projects another 2-3 percent rise in 2019. Some have argued the rise is a result of higher wages at the state and local levels with Chipotle, Habit Burger and others announcing pricing increases in 2019.