Restaurant industry sales are expected to reach a record $537 billion in 2007 -- a solid 5 percent increase over 2006 sales, according to the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) 2007 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released in December.
The results of the forecast -- along with up-to-date, exclusive trend tracking data -- will be presented by Robert Ebbin, senior director of research products for the NRA, at MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), taking place March 14-16 at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
With an eye to technology, the study reveals that forty-six percent of Americans say they are likely to use customer-activated ordering and payment terminals if available in their favorite table service restaurant. Younger consumers are more likely to do so, as 71 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 64 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds say they would. About half of all adults -- and roughly two-thirds of those aged 18 to 34 say they would use a self-serve order and payment terminal at a quick service restaurant if it was available.
"The restaurant industry will enter its 16th consecutive year of real growth in 2007, and will have a total economic impact that will exceed $1.3 trillion," says Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Association.
The study further reveals that the nation's 935,000 restaurant-and-foodservice outlets will employ 12.8 million individuals, and add two million new career and employment opportunities in the next decade.
The industry is heading into 2007 as an economic powerhouse and an essential part of Americans' lifestyle, with Americans spending 47.9 percent of their food budget in restaurants.