Restaurant sales in the U.S. will grow for the sixth consecutive year, reaching a record high of $709.2 billion in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) latest Restaurant Industry Forecast. “With the economy slowly improving and national employment trending upward, signs are pointing in the right direction for restaurant industry growth,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the NRA.
Here are four reasons for the growth, according to the restaurant trade group.
The number of jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow by 2.2 percent this year, which would be the highest rate of growth since 2000.
The U.S. is expected to attract 76.6 million international visitors in 2015. That number has steadily grown over the years — an estimated 41.2 million visited in 2003, for example.
Lower Gas Prices
As we’ve shared before, lower pump prices work like instant tax reductions. Thus, consumers have more discretionary dollars in their pockets so going out to eat is becoming an option for people.
Pent Up Demand
While still a bit cautious about the economy, the NRA’s research still indicates that consumers have the desire to eat out more, says Riehle.