By Karen Axelton

I thought maybe it was just me who was eating out more often–but apparently, I’m not alone. USA Today reports that according to several measures, restaurant spending is back on the rise after three years of decline. Industry resource Technomic reports that in the third quarter of 2010, restaurants’ same-store sales finally ticked upward for the first time since the recession began.

Families with children led the way, coming back to dining establishments in the summer, the NPD Group reports; the National Restaurant Association cites similarly positive numbers. The upswing is affecting all types of restaurants, from fast food chains to fast-casual locations and even white-tablecloth restaurants, which are seeing more businesspeople come back for work-related meals.

If you own a restaurant, keep in mind that children, businesspeople and families are key customer groups to target–so make sure you’re offering deals that resonate with them.