Provided by Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President, Policy & Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association
1. RESTAURANTS ARE INTEGRAL TO THE ECONOMY--980,000 locations, 13.1 million employees, $660.5 billion in sales. That's up from our projections of 970,000 locations, 12.9 million employees and an estimated $636 billion in sales in 2012.
2. GROWTH IS SOLID--NRA projects restaurant-industry sales growth of 3.8% in 2013, an 0.8% increase when adjusted for inflation (down slightly from 2012's projected real growth rate of 1.3%). Leading the pack at the state level: Texas, North Dakota and Florida.
3. WE'RE A JOBS-AND-CAREERS ENGINE--Our workforce expanded 3% in 2012. That's more than double the U.S. job-growth rate of 1.4%, our strongest gain in eight years and the 13th straight year we outpaced overall U.S. job growth. Over the next decade, we project a nearly 10% increase in our workforce, bringing us to 14.4 million employees in 2023 from 13.1 million in 2013. Fastest-growing state restaurant workforces: Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
4. FOOD COSTS ARE TOP OF MIND--About one in four fullservice operators, and slightly higher percentages of quickservice operators, expect food costs will be their top challenge in 2013. Wholesale food prices rose 8.1 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2012 -- and close to 30 percent over the last six years. Prices for many major commodities are projected to remain elevated in 2013.
5. HEALTH-CARE REFORM IS WORRISOME--31% of quickservice operators and 25% of family-dining operators cite health-care reform as the top regulatory challenge they expect to face in 2013.
6. OUR FOCUS ON NUTRITION IS RESONATING WITH THE PUBLIC--Healthful kids' meals are the No. 3 restaurant food trend in 2013, in both the fullservice and limited-service segments. (No. 1 food trend: locally sourced meats and seafood (fullservice) and gluten-free items (limited service)). Restaurants get high marks for the options they offer: A whopping 90% of adults ages 45 to 54 say restaurants offer more healthful items than two years ago.
7. OUR GUESTS CRAVE INFO--About a third of all adults have gone online to get nutrition data on restaurant food; the percent jumps to 45% for adults ages 18 to 44. Six in 10 adults have visited a restaurant's website, and nearly one in three have read or posted restaurant reviews on consumer-driven websites such as Yelp.
8. TOURISM IS REBOUNDING--International arrivals to the U.S. are expected to hit a record 68.3 million in 2013, up from 41.2 million 10 years ago. On an industry-segment basis, travelers and tourists accounted for an average of 15% to 29% of restaurant sales during the last 12 months.
9. WE'RE GETTING GREENER--The signs are all over the place: Nearly six in 10 casual-dining operators plan to move to more environmentally friendly takeout packaging in 2013 ... Over half of restaurant operators report customers are more interested in environmentally sustainable menu items than two years ago ... And operators rank the use of more energy-efficient technology as one of "25 sure developments" for 2020.
10. BEVERAGE ALCOHOL GETS MORE SOPHISTICATED--Top three beverage-alcohol trends for 2013: Onsite barrel-aged drinks; food/liquor pairings; and culinary cocktails (with savory, fresh ingredients).
11. BUILDING LOYALTY IS BIG--Guest loyalty or rewards programs are growing more popular across all segments of the industry. Roughly one in four restaurants now offer frequent-diner programs.
12. PENT-UP DEMAND IS HIGH--Four in 10 adults say they aren't using restaurants as often as they'd like, compared to one in four in the mid-2000s.