Restaurant Sales, Jobs to Grow in 2012

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The US restaurant industry expects sales to reach a record high of $632 billion in 2012, 3.5% better than 2011, the second consecutive year that industry sales will exceed $600 billion. Employment in the nation’s restaurants is also expected expand by 2.3%, to 12.9 million workers. That job growth is better than the 2011 growth rate of 1.9% and, if the estimate comes true, restaurants will provide 10% of all US jobs.

The National Restaurant Association also notes a few warnings in its annual survey:

Because about one-third of sales in a restaurant go to food and beverage purchases, food prices are a crucial component for operators. Last year, we saw wholesale food prices post their strongest annual increase in more than three decades. In 2012, we will see continued increases in the cost of some commodities, while price pressures will ease for others.

Over the next decade, the association expects restaurant employment to rise by 1.4 million new jobs, bringing total employment in the industry to 14.3 million.