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National Restaurant Association Industry Forecast Projects 2013 Sales Growth

According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, total restaurant industry sales nationwide are expected to exceed $660 billion in 2013 – a 3.8 percent increase over 2012, marking the fourth consecutive year of real sales growth for the industry. The nation’s 980,000 restaurants will employ 13.1 million individuals as the second-largest private-sector employer in the U.S., representing 10 percent of the total U.S. workforce. In addition, 2013 will be the 14th straight year in which restaurant industry employment will outpace overall employment. The NRA projects that the industry will add 1.3 million jobs by 2023.
The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) has announced that the Texas restaurant industry is projected to lead the country in sales growth in 2013 according to the NRA Forecast. Texas is projected to see sales of $40.8 billion, a 5% increase over 2012. Restaurants in Texas will employ 1,074,200 Texans, a slight increase from 2012. Texas is also projected to post the strongest growth in employment over the next decade, increasing 15.9% to 1,245,000 employees.
While the restaurant industry is expected to grow in 2013, operators will continue to face a range of challenges. The top challenges cited by restaurateurs vary by industry segment, and include food costs, the economy and health care reform.
After increasing steadily in the last three years, wholesale food costs will continue on an upward trajectory through 2013, putting significant pressure on restaurants’ bottom lines as about one-third of sales in a restaurant goes to food and beverage purchases.
The sluggish economic and employment recovery impacts consumers’ cash-on-hand situation, which in turn impacts restaurants as there is a strong correlation between consumers’ disposable income and restaurant sales.
Preparing for the implementation of health care reform will put additional cost pressure on some restaurant operators in the near future. One-third of a typical restaurant’s sales go toward labor costs, so significant increases in those costs will result in additional cost management measures to preserve the already slim pre-tax profit margins of 3-5 percent on which most restaurants operate.
In addition to containing a national, regional and state-by-state sales and employment outlook, the 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast provides details on the latest economic, consumer, technology and operator trends. 

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