Foodservice Equipment Reports

Say What? The State With The Fastest Growing Foodservice Sales: North Dakota!

An analysis of the National Restaurant Association’s forecasts for state and regional growth reveals some surprising shifts. Before the recession, foodservice growth in Sunbelt states, including the West, typically outpaced that of other parts of the United States. For 2012, Texas and Florida remain among the top five states with the fastest growing foodservice sales, according to NRA’s forecasts, but North Dakota ties Texas for first and Wyoming and Maryland round out the top five.

NRA bases its state forecasts on analysis of factors such as state population and employment growth, disposable personal income and foodservice employment. Sales are calculated only for eating places (excluding bars) and managed service providers. Lodging and casino operations are not included. NRA forecasts average growth for this group at 3.2% for 2012.

Even in the states with the fastest projected growth, increases remain moderate. Texas and North Dakota tied for first with forecast 4.1% gains. States eight, nine and ten—New York, Oklahoma and Nevada—are expected to grow 3.4%, a miniscule rate above the average. The states which NRA believes will show the slowest growth, West Virginia and Vermont, are pegged at 2.2% nominal growth, which given NRA’s 2.7% menu-price inflation forecast, does indicate a half-point decline in real sales.

Among the nine regions, the West South Central (buoyed by Texas and Oklahoma), and South Atlantic states (with Florida, South Carolina and Maryland in the top 10), are forecast to lead the pack with growth of 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. The Middle Atlantic and Mountain regions are also expected to show growth above the 3.2% average. New England, with a predicted 2.5% gain, and West North Central at 2.8% will be the slowest growing regions according to NRA’s outlook.

Among the larger factors driving state growth: Ties to the energy industry (North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming), tourist and travel destinations (Florida, Nevada, New York, South Carolina), a workforce dominated by federal government (Maryland) or a combination of the above. The relative strength of these factors can also be seen in the cases of Florida and Nevada, among the states most affected by the housing crash and lingering foreclosure crisis.

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