Foodservice Equipment Reports

Election Brings Uncertainty And Opportunity To The Foodservice Industry

The surprise election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has not ended the uncertainty caused by the campaign, according to a number of commentators. But it also creates an opportunity that the foodservice industry may be spared some regulations viewed as onerous.

A number of restaurant chain executives had cited the turmoil of the election as a factor in slowing same-store sales. “Now that the election has occurred, I think there is still a lot of uncertainty given that Donald Trump hasn’t really stated what his policies are,” Joe Pawlak, managing principal at Technomic Inc. was quoted saying on CNBC. “I think…we are still going to see some slowness in the restaurant industry, probably the first 100 days of his administration, until we start seeing some actual action.”

Speaking during the same program, Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, said “Now that the election is over, things should partly return to normal and consumers should loosen the purse strings a bit more. This will help restaurants and will lift spending moderately. That said, the end of the election does not spell the end of uncertainty. This is a time of change for many and quite a number of consumers are concerned about the impact of a Trump presidency. This may well create a ceiling of growth.”

The impact of the election on the restaurant industry may be mixed. In a commentary following the election, the National Restaurant Association wrote: “We will likely see an increased effort toward border security and, potentially, broader immigration reform. Given Trump’s background in the hospitality industry, it is likely he will push for his proposed tax cuts and regulatory reform for the business sector. Further, we may see relief in some of the burdensome requirements imposed on businesses and employees alike in the health care space, as well as in labor regulations (looking at you, Overtime Rule).”

But Pawlak reminded everyone that when it comes to foodservice, “there are other underlying issues that go beyond the election,” including a mature, highly saturated market and the large gap between retail and foodservice menu price trends. 

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