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Restaurant Performance Index Fell Sharply in April

As a result of softer readings in both the current situation and forward-looking indicators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell sharply in April. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.1 in April, down 1.8 percent from a level of 101.9 in March.

April’s RPI decline was the result of broad-based softening in both the current situation and expectations indicators. Although same-store sales readings were slightly positive in April, customer traffic turned negative. In addition, restaurant operators are less optimistic about both sales growth and the overall economy...

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May 31 8:45 AM, General News



Restaurants Face Challenges Tapping into the Summer Labor Pool

According to the National Restaurant Association, summer employment is defined as the average number of eating and drinking place jobs in June, July, and August. Generally, the United States restaurant industry begins to ramp up its seasonal hiring in April, and peaks in June, July, and August. Restaurants are expected to add 515,000 jobs this summer season. Summer is typically the busiest season for restaurants in many parts of the United States, and the increased consumer traffic leads to additional employment opportunities at all levels of a foodservice operation. Roughly one in six food and drinking establishments operate on a seasonal basis, many being during the summer. The seasonal businesses that do all of their hiring for the summer months are responsible for the bulk of additional jobs.

Although the restaurant industry will add more than half a million jobs for the seventh consecutive summer, hiring will be somewhat cut back in 2019, with the projected increase of...

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May 23 12:30 PM, Urner Barry


National Restaurant Association President & CEO Announces Retirement

After 12 years successfully leading one of Washington’s largest and most influential trade associations, advancing and protecting all aspects of the restaurant and foodservice industry, National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation President & CEO Dawn Sweeney announced last week that she will step down when her current contract ends at the end of 2019. Until then, she will continue to lead the Association and Foundation, gain Board approval for the 2020-2024 strategic plan, and assist Board leadership in the search for a new CEO.

“Serving and leading the restaurant industry during this historic timeframe, when foodservice has grown to an $863 billion business employing over 15 million professionals, has been the most fulfilling experience of my career,” said Dawn Sweeney. “We have accomplished much together, including...

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May 21 1:40 PM, General News


Consumer Pent-Up Demand for Restaurants Remains Elevated

The trend line of restaurant sales was positive during the first four months of 2019, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Eating and drinking place sales totaled $61.5 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in April, which represented the fourth consecutive monthly gain after a sluggish second half of 2018.

To be sure, there appears to be more room for growth in the months ahead, according to a national survey conducted May 9-12 by ORC International for the National Restaurant Association. When asked about their current restaurant usage, a significant proportion of the American public say they would like to be patronizing restaurants more often. Forty-two percent of all adults say they are not eating on the premises of restaurants as frequently as they would like, while 48 percent say...

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May 17 8:25 AM, General News


NRA: Foodservice Jobs Continue to Rally as Middle-Class Opportunities Expand

The National Restaurant Association recently reported on the state of employment in their industry, with some surprising results.

The key takeaways from their reports were that while the restaurant industry remains one of the most popular for Americans entering the workforce, there’s also great growth as the field experiences an increase in middle-class job creation. Unsurprisingly, restaurant employees have a high rate of turnover between the high seasonality and large population of student workers.

One in three American adults got their first job in...

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May 10 11:13 AM, Urner Barry


The State of Millennial Dining

If you are wondering what attracts millennial customers to your restaurants, perhaps the No. 1 answer is the ability to provide an experience, new National Restaurant Association research finds.

According to the Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report, millennial customers, aged 21 to 38 years old, said they would like restaurants to serve technology that improves the dining experience, offer more environmentally sustainable items, and create easier opportunities to order takeout and delivery.

Regarding the general dining experience, the report found millennials were willing to pay more to get more. Here are a few of the topline findings...

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May 2 10:33 AM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Posted a Solid Gain in March

Buoyed by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a healthy gain in March. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.9 in March, up 0.9 percent from February’s level of 101.0.

Growth in the RPI was driven by the same-store sales and customer traffic indicators, which both registered solid improvements in March. Looking forward, roughly one-half of restaurant operators expect to see stronger sales volumes in six months. However, their outlook for...

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May 1 8:23 AM, General News


Foodservice Operators Seek Ways to Compete in 2019 Business Environment

According to the National Restaurant Association’s new State of the Industry report, operators, though generally optimistic about business conditions, say they must increase foot traffic, while keeping loyal customers content and attracting new customers at the same time.

The research indicates this year’s business environment is increasingly competitive, thus operators are seeking solutions to ensure success.

The good news, the report states, is that the majority of consumers eating out at restaurants are satisfied with their dining experiences. More than eight in 10 adult customers, or 85 percent, say they are satisfied with the service, food quality and...

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Apr 25 9:31 AM, General News


NRA Examines State of the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant businesses are growing despite some operational challenges, such as workforce development issues, demand for increased technology, and serving Millennials, according to new National Restaurant Association research.

The 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, a comprehensive look at trends and sales projections for the industry, culled and analyzed economic data, along with responses to surveys sent to restaurant operators and consumers.

Hudson Riehle, Association Senior Vice President of Research & Knowledge, shared takeaways from the report, discussed how he expects business to perform throughout 2019 ...

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Apr 16 9:50 AM, General News


Tech Trends Driving Changes in Restaurants, Report Says

Gen Z and millennial expert Jason Dorsey says people refer to Gen Z and millennials as “tech savvy.” But that’s not necessarily true, says Dorsey. He says they’re actually “tech dependent” -- and that’s a different thing altogether.

That may be how they engage with restaurants too. From baby boomers to Gen Xers, generational attitudes toward restaurant technology notably differ, according to National Restaurant Association research delivered in a recent webinar.

  • When asked if restaurant technology -- which can include everything from smartphone apps to tableside tablets and order kiosks -- increases convenience, 60 percent of all ...
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Apr 16 9:45 AM, General News


State of the Restaurant Industry

What's the outlook for restaurants in 2019? The National Restaurant Association's 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report provides the details.

Overview

Five key trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2019

  • A competitive business environment.

While restaurant operators generally are optimistic about business conditions, they don't expect a letdown in competitive pressures in 2019. In addition, rising labor costs and ...

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Apr 8 1:47 PM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Edged Lower in February

As a result of softer readings in the current situation indicators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a modest decline in February. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.0 in February, down slightly from a level of
101.2 in January.

While restaurant operators continued to report positive same-store sales in February, customer traffic turned negative for the first time in five months. Although 50 percent of operators expect their sales to be higher in six months ...

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Apr 1 2:05 PM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Declined in January

Due in large part to softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined in January.
The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.2 in January, down 0.4 percent from a level of 101.6 in December.

Although a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales in January, the readings were somewhat softer than the stronger results in November and December. Looking forward, nearly one-half of operators expect ...

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Mar 6 10:19 AM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Remained Relatively Steady in December

With restaurant operators continuing to report positive sales and traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) was essentially unchanged in December. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.6 in December, down slightly from a level of 101.8 in November. The RPI continued to be supported by positive readings in the same-store sales and customer traffic indicators, which both came in similar to their November levels. Looking ahead, although restaurant operators are generally optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, their outlook for the overall economy remains uncertain. The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a neutral level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are ...

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Feb 1 9:29 AM, General News


Expect more Veggie-Forward Menus in 2019 as Plant-Based Cuisine Moves to Center of the Plate

Vegetables and plant-based cuisine take center stage in this year’s “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast,” after years of being relegated as side dishes or vegetarian entrees. Veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine ranked No. 8 of 140 trends, showing that vegetables can play a starring role. Plant-based sausage/burgers ranked second in the protein category, behind new cuts of meat.

Why have carrots, rutabagas and radishes suddenly become sexy? Partly because chefs have found techniques that draw out their rich and nuanced flavors. Take “Rutabaga Fondue,” a signature menu item at Philadelphia’s Vedge and Washington DC’s Fancy Radish, both owned by Chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. The chefs coax out an unexpected cheesy flavor by using nutritional yeast. “You can take the humblest of vegetables, like the rutabaga, and turn it into something ...

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Jan 10 9:58 AM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Posted a Moderate Increase in November

Driven by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate increase in November The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.8 in November, up 0.5 percent from a level of 101.2 in October.

Growth in the RPI was buoyed by the same-store sales and customer traffic indicators, which both improved for the second consecutive month. Looking forward, restaurant operators are generally optimistic about sales growth in the coming months, while their plans for capital expenditures also ... 

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Jan 3 10:01 AM, General News


Chomping at the Bit for Food trends? Feast on This!

If you’re wondering what consumers will eat when they dine out next year, think alternative proteins, ethnic-inspired breakfasts or veggie-carb substitutes, and you’ll be on the right track, according to our new research on food trends for 2019.

The National Restaurant Association’s 2019 What’s Hot Culinary survey found that guests are looking for great tasting foods that also are healthful and sustainable at the same time. The survey, produced annually in partnership with the American Culinary Federation, is a barometer of food and beverage trends around the country. This year, we looked at the responses of approximately 650 professional chefs – all ACF members.

“These foods, already popular in consumers’ own homes, are now poised to ignite sales at restaurants and foodservice operations,” said Hudson Riehle, the Association’s senior vice president of research. “It’s no secret restaurant customers seek new food experiences when dining out. Chefs are listening to that request and offering them the foods they want. That’s good for guests and business.”

Here are a few of the food trends chefs say customers will be asking for ...

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Dec 19 8:51 AM, General News


Virtual Reality Offers a Far-Out Future for Restaurants

What if you could create a restaurant experience in virtual reality and then apply what you learn to a real-life restaurant? Jinsoo An is trying to do just that.

An, the founder and CEO of startup company Project Nourished, is experimenting with using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to try to alter a consumer’s eating and drinking experience.

He explained his theory in detail at our recent Restaurant Innovation Summit, held Nov. 7-8 in Dallas.

An has had a fascination with the restaurant experience from the time he first learned about American food by...

 

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Nov 29 11:30 AM, General News


National Restaurant Association Says 1 in 10 Americans Plan to Spend Thanksgiving at a Restaurant

Restaurateurs, be prepared Nov. 22, because a number of consumers will supplement their traditional holiday meals with restaurant-prepared foods, the National Restaurant Association’s the most recent research states.

Almost one in 10 (9 percent) adults plan to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. In addition, 4 percent of those planning a holiday meal at home intend to purchase it from a restaurant.

Among the adults who told us they plan to visit a restaurant this Thanksgiving, 31 percent said they would go to the same restaurant they traditionally go to on the holiday.

Another 30 percent said they restaurant they will go to is one they only...

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Nov 20 9:27 AM, General News


FDA Releases Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors 2013-2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released findings today from the initial phase of a 10-year study that is evaluating trends in food preparation practices and employee behaviors that contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks in the retail setting.

Data from this study are meant to provide valuable insights for restaurant management to address and reduce common unsafe behaviors/practices within fast food and full-service restaurants. FDA’s National Retail Food Team will continue to work with stakeholders, such as the National Restaurant Association, National Council of Chain Restaurants, restaurant chain companies and state restaurant associations in addressing food safety behaviors/practices in need of attention...

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Nov 7 2:29 PM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Dipped Amid Softer Sales in September

Due in large part to softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s
Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined in September. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.1 in September, down 0.9 percent from a level of 102.0 in August.

The RPI’s September decline was primarily the result of a pullback in the current situation indicators, as both same-store sales and customer traffic eased off their positive August levels. Looking forward...

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Nov 1 8:12 AM, General News


The Survey Says: Gen Zs, Millennials like Working for Industry

Millennial and Gen Z members say the foodservice industry offers good employment opportunities and effective training in various skills, according to new research by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The Foundation partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics, to release a report detailing how both generations view the industry and how to interest them in future job and career opportunities.

The research looked at responses from more than 1,600 respondents and found the following...

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Oct 30 9:27 AM, General News


Chains Ramp Up Efforts To Create Healthy Kids’ Meals

Families have always enjoyed dining out together at restaurants, and now they’re looking to operators to provide them with more balanced dining choices. To meet that request, chefs and restaurateurs are ramping up efforts to create more better-for-you, great-tasting foods they all will love.

“Many restaurants are working to update their menus so kids are satisfied with the choices available to them," says Jeff Clark, the National Restaurant Association’s director of sustainability and nutrition. "Today, more kids' menus feature foods made from fresh ingredients that are prepared creatively, healthfully, and are a lot of fun to eat.”

Clark adds that restaurateurs know their adult clients want nutritious items for their kids and that they must cater to that demand or risk losing business. To succeed, they, their chefs and suppliers are working on dishes children and their parents can love equally.

The following are four examples of national chains offering better-for-you options on their menus...

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Oct 26 8:00 AM, General News


Restaurants Up the Ante on Healthier Menu Options

Consumers are telling restaurateurs they’re looking for menu items lower in calories, more nutritious and, in some cases, smaller sized, and restaurateurs are listening.

Earlier this year, the National Restaurant Association released its annual What’s Hot Culinary Survey of more than 1,000 U.S. chefs and restaurateurs. The research found that eight in 10 operators said customers pay more attention to nutritional content than they did two years ago. The survey also discovered 71 percent of consumers said availability of healthy menu choices made it more likely they’d choose one restaurant over another. As a result, restaurateurs planned to add more of those options to their menus. For example...

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Oct 17 8:14 AM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Posted a Healthy Gain in August

Driven by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a healthy gain in August. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 102.0 in August, up 1.0 percent from a level of 101.1 in July.

The RPI’s August increase was bolstered by broad-based gains in the current situation indicators, which rebounded from softness in July. Restaurant operators reported a net increase in same-store sales for the 10th consecutive month, with customer traffic also turning positive in August. Although the forward-looking indicators anticipate continued growth in the coming months, their recent trends have been somewhat ...

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Sep 28 11:00 AM, Urner Barry


Restaurant Performance Index Posted a Moderate Gain in June

Driven by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate improvement in June. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.6 in June, up 0.5 percent from a level of 101.2 in May.

June’s RPI was buoyed by stronger same-store sales, with a majority of restaurant operators reporting higher sales for the first time in three months. Although operators reported mixed customer traffic results in June, it was an improvement over traffic declines in the previous two months. On the flip side, expectations...

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Jul 31 10:11 AM, General News


Restaurant Performance Index Edged Lower in May

As a result of a somewhat dampened outlook among restaurant operators for business conditions in the months ahead, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a modest decline in May. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.2 in May, down slightly from April’s level of 101.3.

The RPI’s current situation indicators continued along the trend established in recent months, with positive same-store sales being offset by a decline in customer traffic levels. Meanwhile, restaurant operators are somewhat less optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, while their outlook for the overall economy was downgraded to its weakest level in nearly a year...

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Jul 2 4:30 AM, General News




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