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Quarterly Newsletter June 2017



5 key trends to shape the restaurant industry in 2017:

  • A challenging business environment.
    • While restaurant operators generally are optimistic about the outlook for future business, a range of challenges will put a damper on their enthusiasm in 2017. Rising labor costs and a complex legislative and regulatory landscape on federal, state and local levels add pressure on business performance and bottom lines.
  • Recruiting is a top challenge.
    • Recruitment and retention of employees continues to strengthen as a top challenge for restaurant operators in 2017. As the economy keeps improving and employment levels rise, there is more competition for qualified employees to fill vacant restaurant positions
  • Elevated pent-up demand.
    • Consumers’ pent-up demand for restaurant services remains elevated compared to historical levels. As Americans remain relatively cautious with their spending in 2017, restaurant operators will engage in social media marketing and other innovative tactics to highlight exceptional quality, service and value to nudge consumers into action.
  • Technology gains ground.
    • Technology adoption will keep growing among restaurant operators in 2017, but the process is not without challenges. Cost in various forms remains a significant barrier, and while acceptance of the more common types of restaurant technology – such as online ordering, kiosks and mobile payment – gains ground among consumers, some are still on the fence about more advanced technologies.
  • Food and menu trends lean toward concepts.
    • As their food-decision matrix grows increasingly complex, consumers will be more engaged and discerning than ever when dining out in 2017. Diners are more knowledgeable about food and have come to expect menu options that fit their dietary preferences no matter when or where they visit restaurants. This has resulted in food trends becoming more concept-based than ingredient-based, with an evolving focus on production, sourcing and preparation.


Restaurant industry expected to post modest sales growth in 2017. A gradually improving economy will help restaurant-industry sales continue to advance in 2017, even as restaurant operators face continued margin pressures, a tightening labor market and some lingering consumer uncertainty.

  • Industry sales will reach $799 billion; tableservice remains largest segment, but quickservice sales growth rate will be higher.
    • Food-and-beverage sales in the tableservice-restaurant segment are projected to reach $263.0 billion in 2017. up 3.5 percent from 2016. Quickservice and fast-casual sales are expected to total $233.7 billion in 2017, a 5.3 percent gain over 2016’s sales volume.
  • Adjusted for inflation, 2017’s projected restaurant-industry sales represents a 1.7 percent gain over 2016, up slightly from the 1.5 percent gain registered in 2016.
  • Although this represents the eighth consecutive year of real sales gains, growth will remain dampened by historical standards. Significant variances among geographic regions and industry segments will also affect restaurant sales performance.


Restaurants will remain the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, providing jobs and careers for about one in 10 working Americans.

  • The restaurant industry is expected to add 1.6 million jobs over the next decade.
  • Employment is projected to reach 16.3 million by 2027.
  • New York Paid Family Leave Act (NYPFLA) starts January 1, 2018 and phases in over the next 4 years. The act requires all employers to provide all full-time employees who have worked for 26+ consecutive weeks and part-time employees who have worked 175+ days with benefits that provide the employee a percentage of their average weekly wage while on leave to bond with their child(ren) under the age of 1 or care for family members with a serious health condition. Paid Family Leave will be fully funded by employees and employers are permitted to start payroll deductions from their employee’s paycheck on July 1, 2017. Click here for more information.
  • Reminder: Minimum wage is set to increase on December 31, 2017. Employers must give all employee’s one week’s notice for wage rate change, click here for a Sample Pay Notice and for more information about the minimum wage changes.

Source: National Restaurant Association


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