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Restaurant Industry Will Grow in 2013
Dec 12, 2012
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Despite a challenging operating environment, the 980,000 restaurants in the United States are forecast to post record sales and continue to be a leading job creator in 2013, according to the National Restaurant Association. The association reiterated recent survey findings about consumer interest in restaurant technology.

The association expects 2013 restaurant industry sales to top $660 billion, up 3.8% increase over 2012, making it the fourth consecutive year of real sales growth for the restaurant industry.

The association also expects 2013 to be the 14th year in a row in which employment in the restaurant industry outpaces overall employment. Restaurants are expected to 13.1 million people in 2013. Restaurants are the second-largest private-sector employer in the United States, representing 10% of the workforce.

While the total 2012 U.S. employment growth rate was 1.4%, restaurants added jobs at a 3.0% rate. In 2013, the association expects overall employment to grow at 1.5% while restaurants add jobs at a 2.4% rate. The group expects restaurants to add 1.3 million new positions in the next 10 years, making industry employment 14.4 million in 2023.

Consumer interest in technology continues, as recent survey findings illustrate.

Among the survey results regarding tableservice restaurants:

* more than half of consumers would use tableside electronic payment options
* 44% of consumers would use a tableside ordering system
* a third would use mobile payment options
* 4 in 10 would use menus on an iPad or other tablet
* 50% would use a smartphone app for viewing menus, ordering, or making reservations.

Despite consumer interest, less than 1 in 10 tableservice restaurants have such capabilities now; 54% plan to invest more in customer-facing technology in 2013.

At quickservice restaurants:
* 44% of consumers say they would use self-order terminals
* two in five would use smartphone apps to place orders or view menus
* more than one-quarter would use mobile payment options.

Less than 2% of quickservice restaurants have such technologies now, but 48% plan on investing more in customer-facing technology next year.

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