Overall restaurant sales in the U.S. will reach $863 billion in 2019, according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) annual State of the Restaurant Industry report.
Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) notes that this year’s projected sales figure of $863 billion is an increase of 3.6 percent over last year and constitutes a record-high industry performance.
Restaurant operators will also invest more in technology this year, particularly in services like online and app ordering, mobile reservations, mobile payments and delivery management, the report states. And that’s exactly what customers expect: The report notes that “a majority of consumers say they would like to see restaurants incorporate more technology with a focus on improving customer service, making ordering and payment easier, and offering more convenient takeout and delivery options.”
Consumers’ preferred new technologies include tablets at the table, self-service kiosks and wearable technology for servers. Up to 70 percent of quick-service operators plan to make more investments in technology this year, the NRA report says.
Sales growth rates are “definitely more moderate than before the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007,” Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s senior vice president of the research and knowledge group, told NRN. He said the compound annual growth rate between 1970—when the NRA first started making its annual estimates—and 2019 is 6.4 percent. “That’s a solid growth rate and definitely better than many other industries,” Riehle said in the NRN interview. “But the growth rate over the past decade drops to the high -4 percent range. So that is the environment going forward for the industry.”