Restaurant Business is On Fire
By George Anderson
Government numbers show that Americans are going out to restaurants in growing numbers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent $33.7 billion in restaurants last month, eight percent more than the same period in 2004.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is forecasting industry sales will reach $476 billion this year. The group’s research shows sales and customer traffic has grown steadily for two years.
Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s senior vice president for research and information services, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the industry is a reflection of changing American lifestyles where less time and desire to prepare food is combined with family member schedules that make sitting down together to dine the exception rather than the rule in many U.S. households.
According to NRA, 47 percent of food expenses now go to dining out.
Rich Melman, chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, which operates more than 60 restaurants, said that while general trends point to a restaurant’s success, it is not a guarantee. “It’s a trickier time,” he said. “I think there’s more competition than ever before.”
Moderator’s Comment: What changes/innovations do you expect to see taking place in the restaurant business in the future? What does the trend in consumers
eating out mean for those in the retailing end of the food business? –
George Anderson – Moderator