U.S. Foodservice Sales Turn Positive after Three Down Years
Feb 10, 2011
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U.S. foodservice industry sales are expected to reach a record $604 billion and show growth in 2011 after a three-year period of negative real sales growth, according National Restaurant Association research. The association’s 2011 Restaurant Industry Forecast projects industry sales will increase 3.6% over 2010 sales, which equals 1.1% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.

As in 2010, slightly stronger sales growth is forecast in 2011 for the quickservice restaurant segment over the fullservice segment. Quickservice restaurants are projected to post sales of $167.7 billion in 2011, up 3.3% over 2010.

Fullservice restaurants are projected to post sales of $194.6 billion in 2011, up 3.1% over 2010.

The social caterers segment is expected to show the strongest growth in 2011, with sales expected to be up 6.2%.

Other commercial foodservice segments expected to show solid sales growth in 2011:
• hotel restaurants, up 5.7%
• hospitals and nursing homes, up 5.5%
• primary and secondary schools, up 4.8%

The association’s 2011 forecast reports that consumers now spend 49% of their food budget in the restaurant community, compared to 25% in 1955. The association believes the economic downturn created substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services, with more than two out of five consumers saying they are not dining out or using takeout as often as they would like.

The forecast shows that social media savvy consumers (frequently using one or more social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter, or phone apps) dine out more than the general public: 92% eat at a sit-down restaurant at least once a month, compared to 84% of all adults; 87% eat at a quickservice restaurant or carry-out place at least once a month, compared to 83% of all adults.

This demographic is much more likely to use in-store technology like electronic ordering and payment systems at the table, self-service kiosks, online ordering, and mobile phone applications for placing orders.

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