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Restaurant Industry Begins to Rebound

More than 9,400 restaurants have opened around U.S. in first half of 2012
CSP Daily News |


CHICAGO -- Consumers are beginning to dine out more frequently and are spending money, as the number of restaurants that have opened nationwide in 2012 has increased, foodservice database, marketing and analytics firm CHD Expert's 2012 Year-To-Date Net Market Changes Report.

The following 10 states saw the largest growth in restaurant openings from January to June 2012: West Virginia, New York, Connecticut, California, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas and North Dakota.

West Virginia and New York took the lead, at 3.6% and 2.6% positive net change, respectively, while Kansas and North Dakota rounded out the top ten, both at 1.2% net change (see File Attachments below for chart).

Restaurants with menus catering to traditional American fare, Mexican, and bar and grill menus showed the largest increases, while fine dining and upscale establishment growth remained flat throughout the first half of 2012 (see File Attachments below for chart).

The fast-casual market also continues to grow at a steady rate, as consumers have upgraded from quick-service restaurants (QSRs). These time-crunched consumers are still looking for a fast-food alternative, but with a more diverse menu selection. As the United States becomes more health conscious overall, consumers are seeking food establishments with better quality products, in addition to improved service, and a comfortable, accommodating atmosphere in which to dine.

While money has been one of the top concerns for consumers since the economic crisis and still is for many of them, the overall foodservice market landscape is beginning to recover and show signs of small, incremental growth, said the report. This indicates that consumers are starting to have more confidence in the economy as they are beginning to dine out and spend money more frequently after long periods of stagnation.

"As we move through the last quarter of 2012 and into the beginning of 2013, we believe we will continue to see improvements as more establishments expand their menu offerings as well as open more locations throughout the U.S," said Catherine Kearns, general manager of CHD Expert, Chicago.

CHD Expert supports foodservice providers in their sales and marketing strategies by providing foodservice census and housing operator intelligence.


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NRA focuses on career opportunities for military personnel, veterans

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is enhancing efforts to build career opportunities and support for military personnel and veterans by launching the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation.

The NRA’s Military Foundation will focus on providing training and industry support to military hospitality programs, promoting foodservice and hospitality career opportunities for former servicemen and women and military spouses, and working to provide small business ownership opportunities for military veterans.

These efforts are an extension of NRA’s long support of the military, including the presentation of the Air Force’s John L. Hennessy Award, the U.S. Marine Corp’s Major Gen. W.P.T. Hill Award, the Air National Guard’s SMSgt Kenneth  Disney Award, and support of the Hennessy Travelers Association Educational Foundation’s (HTAEF) Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence. The establishment of the NRA’s Military Foundation coincides with the transfer of all activities and programs associated with the HTAEF to the new foundation.

“We are proud to expand our support of military veterans by encouraging them to choose restaurant careers,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The National Restaurant Association’s long-time involvement with the Hennessy Travelers Association has resulted in the creation of our new Military Foundation to strengthen the impact of our support and expand programs like the Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence.”

“We are renewing our commitment to support America’s active servicemen and women and military veterans through our new Military Foundation,” said Art Myers, National Restaurant Association Military Foundation board member. “We will focus our work on programs that help develop career and ownership opportunities for individuals who have served their country, as well as support military foodservice professionals in developing their culinary and management skills.”

“We have always appreciated the support of the National Restaurant Association, and look forward to passing the torch to the newly formed NRA’s Military Foundation to carry on the work previously conducted by our educational foundation,” said Dick Hynes, president of the Hennessy Travelers Association. “The personal dedication of NRA board members who have served as Hennessy Travelers will bring a wealth of passion to the NRA’s Military Foundation. By leveraging their commitment and industry resources under the umbrella of the industry’s premier trade association, along with long time Hennessy partners Society for Foodservice Management (SFM) and International Foodservice Executives Association (IFSEA), we are confident that our united efforts will be stronger than ever and will keep growing into the future.”

The Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence program each year brings 25 outstanding U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine servicemen and women to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone for a week-long educational program to help develop their culinary and foodservice management skills. This year’s program will take place November 5-9.


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