While reviewing the recent 2010 Restaurant Industry Forecast, an annual report that is produced by the National Restaurant Association, I came across a few interesting statistics that gave me a greater appreciation for the foodservice industry, and the importance of what we talk about every day on the pages of Hospitality Technology.
Given my ongoing exposure to many of the larger restaurant chains (through hand-shaking at industry networking events, executive interviews, and general news-combing) I often think of the foodservice industry as being largely comprised of name-brand establishments, employing a significant chunk of the industry's workforce, with mom-and-pop restaurants scattered here and there across the landscape.
Here's the real picture: On a typical day in America the foodservice industry employs more than 12.7 million people (9 percent of the workforce). The kicker is that 91 percent of those eating-and-drinking establishments have fewer than 50 employees. Whether they're mom-and-pop restaurants or franchisees carrying a name brand, the reality is that the vast majority of restaurant operations are small businesses.
Restaurants are expected to bring in $580.1 billion in sales this year, with an overall economic impact of more than $1.5 trillion, making these small businesses a very big part of the U.S. economy. To consider that small business owners in a single industry have such a significant impact on the U.S. economy overall has given me a greater appreciation for the importance of each individual restaurant unit, and as a champion for IT pros in the hospitality industry, of the critical role that information technology can play in helping them succeed.