Despite the economic downturn, the industry will remain a cornerstone of the economy, representing 4% of the U.S. gross domestic product and employing 9% of the U.S. workforce, and restaurants will continue to adapt to the latest menu trends and consumer preferences.
"The restaurant industry is both innovative and resilient," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the association. "In the year ahead, the industry's sales are projected to continue to increase, with a total economic impact that exceeds $1.5 trillion, yet at the same time, the industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the economic recession and elevated food prices. Americans will continue to rely on restaurants as a key part of their lifestyle as the industry provides the food, value and service customers seek. Nearly half of consumers' food budget will be spent in restaurants, rewarding the continued responsiveness and innovation that our industry provides to budget-conscious Americans."
From the January 5, 2009, Prepared Foods e-Flash