The Great Recession may technically be over but that doesn't mean that the majority of diners are whipping out their checkbooks for long dinners of caviar and champagne. Instead, pretty much as Danny Meyer predicted, a new report shows that the habits of diners, even affluent ones, have been directly modified by the new economic order.

The gist of the study, from the NPD Group, is pretty common sense. Diners have in the past few years broken down into two major groups: the "controlled spenders," who are cautious, "say they still are visiting fewer restaurants" and make up about 76 percent of the population and the "optimists," who are "less affected by the recession and have cut back less on their dining out." But even the optimists have "traded down from pricier restaurant segments since 2007."

The most interesting part of the research is that while the optimists are more often younger and more affluent than the more-often unemployed or retired controlled spenders, both groups cross pretty much all age and economic lines.

So basically many are still holding back when it comes to lavish dinners, but nearly a quarter of the population is at least dipping their collective toes back in the fine dining waters. Which helps explain the slow return of "what recession?" spots like Imperial No. 9 as well as why every time you turn on a TV it seems there is a commercial for another fast food place offering another way marked down meal.

So, does NPD's research predict an end to this more restrained dining world order? Not anytime soon. “Recovery and growth for the restaurant industry will mean understanding the shift in consumer behavior and realigning strategies with what may be the new normal,” the report's author said. “Rather than age largely defining frequency and type of restaurant visited, lingering effects of prolonged unemployment and loss of wealth by many will carry forward in years to come, regardless of age.