According to the National Restaurant Association, U.S. restaurants are facing their most challenging financial climate in 17 years as a result of the economic downturn and tightened credit landscape.
As Hudson Riehle, the National Restaurant Association’s chief economist, told Reuters in this article:
“Restaurant spending in 2008 is definitely weaker than it was in 2001, the last recessionary period. The previous weakest year was 1991 for the industry, when real sales growth actually declined by .2 percent,” he said.
2008 figures state that consumers still spend approximately half of their food budget dining out, racking up $558 billion in sales at the nation’s 945,000 restaurants. However, it appears that lower cost restaurants are benefiting more than their higher priced counterparts.
As of 2008, an estimated 13.1 million people are employed in the food industry, making up approximately 9% of the U.S. labor force.
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