The National Restaurant Association has published its 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, and the overarching theme is growth: in revenue, local & healthy food trends, employment and the use of technology in the industry. Here are 15 key takeaways in four categories:
Dollars and cents
- 2015 will be the 6th consecutive year of sales growth in the restaurant industry, with $709.2 billion in sales projected.
- Tourism continues to boost the industry: the U.S. is expected to attract 76.6 million international visitors in 2015.
- Consumers are willing to spend if they can save; 8 in 10 say they would visit a restaurant in off peak times if they received a discount.
Use of technology
- One-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant – and experts anticipate this will continue to grow.
- 70% of smartphone users view restaurant menus on their phones at least a few times per year.
- 34% of consumers say technology makes them dine out or order takeout or delivery more often.
- 6 in 10 chefs encourage consumers to take photos of their food and post it on social media – they consider it free advertising.
A people powered industry
- Half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives.
- The industry is projected to employ 14 million in 2015 – about one in 10 working Americans.
- 8 in 10 restaurant employees believe their industry is one where people of all backgrounds can open their own business.
- 95% of consumers say good service is key for choosing a table service restaurant.
Local flair & healthy grub
- ….#2 will be locally grown produce.
- 8 in 10 table service operators say guests are more interested in locally sourced items.
- 76% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthful options.
The survey also found that top challenges restaurateurs currently experience are food costs, recruitment and retention, building and maintaining sales volume and the economy. And despite more restaurants adopting various forms of consumer-facing technology, customers want more than what’s currently offered.
A strong local presence, both in what’s served and where a restaurant is listed, is important to attract new local and visiting customers. Excellent quality of food and service is imperative to keep those customers coming back.
Showcase new menu items and get in front of tech-savvy customers with an information listing service like SinglePlatform. For more information, check out how it works. We are committed to helping local consumers find local restaurants across the U.S.