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National Restaurant Association - Restaurants enter 5th year of real sales growth

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Restaurants enter 5th year of real sales growth

This will mark the fifth consecutive year of real sales growth for the restaurant industry despite a continued challenging economic landscape, aaccording to the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast released today. Industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6 percent over 2013 (1.2 percent when adjusted for inflation).

2014 also will mark the 15th straight year in which restaurant industry employment growth will outpace overall employment growth. The industry will continue to be the nation’s second-largest private employer with nearly one million restaurants employing 13.5 million individuals, or about one in 10 working Americans.

“As our nation continues its road to recovery, the restaurant industry will remain a key driver of economic growth and a leading jobs creator,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurants touch every community across the U.S., and 2014 will be a year of growth and innovation as the industry focuses on inspired new ways to meet consumer demand while providing valuable careers to millions of Americans.” 

“Despite facing a range of challenges, America’s restaurants are showing continued resiliency and innovation,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, Research & Knowledge for the National Restaurant Association. “As the industry enters its fifth straight year of real sales growth, operators are feeding consumer appetites with new technology, customer loyalty efforts, and evolving menu options. Consumers currently have a historically high pent-up demand for restaurant services, which is likely to translate into a business boost as the economy continues to improve – and our nation’s foodservice operators are rising to the challenge.”

While the restaurant industry is expected to grow in 2014, operators will continue to face a range of challenges. The top challenges cited by restaurateurs include food costs, labor costs, and the economy.

Technology innovation continues to play a vital role in the industry, with roughly one-fifth of consumers saying technology options are an important feature that factors into their decision when choosing a  restaurant. In turn, nearly half of restaurant operators plan to devote more resources to customer-facing technology this year.

To keep up with the evolution of consumer palates, restaurant operators across segments added new food and beverage menu options throughout 2013 and will continue to do so in 2014. Local sourcing and nutritious options (such as healthful kids’ meals, gluten-free) continue to be the top trends.

The 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast report is available in the NRA's online store as a comprehensive publication, as well as in sections by topic: Sales & Economic Forecast; Workforce Outlook & Trends; Tableservice Trends; Limited-Service Trends; Technology Trends; and Food & Menu Trends. As with all research publications, NRA members receive a substantial discount. Visit Restaurant.org/Forecast for details. 

 

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