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National Restaurant Association - Restaurants play retail game; say it builds brand, revenue

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Restaurants play retail game; say it builds brand, revenue

Offering packaged food items for retail sale helps restaurant businesses stand out from their competition while providing an additional revenue stream, National Restaurant Industry research has found.

According to the 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, a majority of operators questioned said they offer merchandise, such as sauces or frozen foods, for retail sale.

In the family-dining segment, 54 percent of operators said they sell retail items, while 35 percent of casual dining, 37 percent of quickservice and 41 percent of fast casual restaurateurs said they, too, have merged into the retail fast lane. The highest percentage, however, was in the fine dining segment, where 59 percent of operators said they also sell retail items.

"Selling retail items generates additional sales and in some cases, licensing fees, and that's important considering that the average pretax restaurant profit ranges in the modest 3-percent to 6-percent range," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group. "It also expands a restaurant's brand and/or signature products. It keeps it more top-of-mind with current and potential customers and that's extremely important to operators given the highly competitive nature of the industry."

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