As restaurant earnings impress, investors are chowing down.
Shares of Dunkin' Brands, Cheesecake Factory and Domino's Pizza surged 8 percent, 5 percent and 9 percent on Thursday, respectively, after those companies wowed investors with their first-quarter earnings reports.
And one trader says that this may just be the start of the American consumer's long-awaited comeback.
"Now that they've clearly started to spend a little more on the restaurants, it shows that the consumer's finally starting to feel confident enough to go out and eat," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy with BK Asset Management. "Maybe it's the first green shoots of lower oil prices and higher wages, as we are finally starting to see the consumer begin to spend."
Automobiles could be the next sector to get a bump from consumer spending, Schlossberg said.
"Generally the reaction of spending goes restaurants, cars and housing. So as we start to see the progression going further, that would be the validation that [there's been] a strong recovery of the consumer," Schlossberg said Thursday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
The improvement in the consumer's condition has not been lost on the companies themselves.
"I think the consumer today is generally willing to spend a little more," Cheesecake Factory CFO W. Douglas Benn said on the company's earnings call. "So we're definitely getting a little bit more out of the customers where we see it, as in desserts. Definitely our dessert incident rates continue to be up."
But for David Seaburg, head of equity sales trading at Cowen, improving "dessert incident rates" won't necessarily translate into more car and home sales.
"It shows you a trend that's really changed with millennials in terms of eating habits," Seaburg said. "I think lower fuel prices have helped out, and the economy is obviously helping, but I think it's just a matter of convenience" for young people.
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