Restaurant Industry Facts

By: Dilip Shaw

Restaurant-industry sales are projected to reach a record $426.1 billion in 2003. The restaurant industry employs more than 11.7 million people in 870,000 locations. Restaurant-industry sales are forecast to advance 4.5 percent in 2003 and equal 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

The restaurant industry provides work for more than 9 percent of those employed in the United States. The average annual household expenditure for food away from home in 2000 was $2,137, or $855 per person.

Restaurant-industry employment will reach 13.3 million by 2012. At present the restaurant industry is the nation's largest employer outside of the government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the restaurant industry's growth will be 30 per cent over the next two years. Industry professionals and owners indicate that the biggest challenge facing the industry is finding educated, competent, and well-trained management personnel to handle this growth.

Recruiting and retaining employees is the biggest challenge quick service operators expected to face in 2002, with roughly one-third of the survey respondents rating it their top challenge.

Spending on food, both at home and away from home, accounted for 13.6 percent of total average annual household expenditures in 1999, or $5,031 per household.

August is the most popular month to eat out, and Saturday is the most popular day of the week for dining out.

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