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Restaurants Rebound

Perhaps more than any other industry, hospitality businesses know the importance of managing expectations. Set an expectation for your guests, ideally over-deliver, and you’ll have solid satisfaction scores. These days, we’re not only managing expectations for our guests, but for ourselves. No one wants to prematurely declare the dark days to be behind us, especially when economists dangle terms like “w” or “double-dip” recession. If the phrase that characterized 2010 was “flat is the new up,” then “cautiously optimistic” is the attitude in 2011.
Included with the March issue is the 13th Annual Restaurant Technology Study. We received our highest participation ever in this year’s survey, and the majority of you have good news to report. Two-thirds report positive revenue gains (compared to just one-third a year ago). Technology budgets are on the rebound since the slashing that began in 2008, with a greater number of restaurants dedicating more of their overall revenues to technology. 

Of course, these numbers are quantitative and represent overall trends. But what are individual executives saying about the health of the industry? We’ve got that perspective, too, in this month’s cover story. Hospitality Technology’s Editorial Advisory Board speaks frankly about the pace of recovery. On a scale of 1 to 10 (highest), the restaurant executives on our board give their industry an overall health score of 6 (edging out the average score of 5.25 given by hotel executives). Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association is predicting a 3.6% increase in sales this year over 2010.

All of these positives lead us at Hospitality Technology to join the ranks of the cautiously optimistic and we look forward to more gains in the year ahead. 

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