2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast

The National Restaurant Association has forecasted total restaurant industry sales of $709.2 billion for 2015. This is a 3.5 percent increase over 2014. According to the NRA, 2015 will also be the 16th consecutive year where employment in the industry will be accelerated compared to overall employment growth.  14 million individuals will be employed in the industry this year as the second-largest private sector employer, which represents about 10 percent of the total workforce in the nation.

NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney recently stated in a press release,”Our nation’s restaurants continue to be an essential part of Americans’ daily lives and play a vital role in every community across the country; although operators will continue to face a range of complex challenges in 2015, the restaurant and foodservice industry remains a fundamental driver of the nation’s economy, while providing valuable careers and opportunities to 14 million Americans.”

Below are a few opportunities and challenges for 2015 as seen by the National Restaurant Association:

  • Operators will continue to face challenges including food costs, building sales volume, the economy and recruiting and retaining employees.
  • Average wholesale food prices jumped more than 5 percent in 2014, which represented the fifth consecutive annual increase. During the last five years, average wholesale food prices rose roughly 25 percent. Operators can expect to get pricing relief on several of the major commodities in 2015, including dairy and pork.
  • With the economy steadily improving and the jobless rate decreasing, restaurant operators are finding that the competition for employees is intensifying.
  • Labor costs will remain a concern in 2015. Challenges with Affordable Care Act implementation and minimum wage increases have made a significant impact on restaurant bottom lines, as typically one-third of restaurant sales is spent on labor.
  • Consumers continue to have substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services: 38 percent of consumers say they are not eating on the premises of restaurants as frequently as they would like; 41 percent say they are not purchasing takeout or delivery as often as they would like.

Overall, the NRA 2015 forecast has a positive outlook. To read more about the challenges, opportunities, consumer trends and workforce outlook, click here.

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