Florida Restaurant Industry Expected to Post Growth in 2014 Despite Sustained Challenges

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(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – The restaurant industry in Florida is expected to post 4.5% sales growth in 2014 to reach $34,695,955,000 according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Florida restaurants will employ 899,000 this year, and create an additional 134,600 jobs in the next decade.

“We take great pride in Florida’s restaurant industry, which under Governor Rick Scott’s leadership and pro-business initiatives is continuing to expand its workforce and in turn, spark economic growth in our state,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “This industry forecast indicates that the Sunshine State’s foodservice industry is among the top in the nation, creating more employment opportunities for Florida families and multiplying choices for consumers across the state.”

This year will mark the fifth consecutive year nationally of restaurant industry sales growth despite a continued challenging economic landscape. Overall, industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6 percent from 2013’s sales volume of $659 billion.

2014 will also mark the 15th straight year in which restaurant industry employment growth will outpace overall employment growth. The industry will continue to be the nation’s second largest private employer with 990,000 restaurants employing 13.5 million individuals or 10 percent of the total workforce. The NRA expects restaurants to add 1.3 million new positions in the next decade, pushing industry employment to 14.8 million by 2024.

“As our nation continues its road to recovery, the restaurant industry will remain a key driver of economic growth and a leading jobs creator,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurants touch every community across the U.S., and 2014 will be a year of growth and innovation as the industry focuses on inspired new ways to meet consumer demand while providing valuable careers to millions of Americans.”

“Despite facing a range of challenges, America’s restaurants are showing continued resiliency and innovation,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, Research & Knowledge for the National Restaurant Association. “As the industry enters its fifth straight year of real sales growth, operators are feeding consumer appetites with new technology, customer loyalty efforts, and evolving menu options. Consumers currently have a historically high pent-up demand for restaurant services, which is likely to translate into a business boost as the economy continues to improve – and our nation’s foodservice operators are rising to the challenge.”

While the restaurant industry is expected to grow in 2014, operators will continue to face a range of challenges. The top challenges cited by restaurateurs vary slightly by industry segment, and include food costs, labor costs, and the economy.

For more information about the NRA’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast, visit http://www.restaurant.org/forecast.