Forecasters See Double-Digit Growth Ahead

The National Restaurant Association expects restaurants to increase sales 10.2% in 2021.

According to its State of the Restaurant Industry Report, released Tuesday, the National Restaurant Association expects restaurant and foodservice sales will post double-digit growth in 2021. Forecasters anticipate a growth in sales of 10.2% for U.S. eating and drinking places, with $548.3 billion in sales.

“As the vaccine rollout becomes more widespread by mid-year, business conditions will steadily improve,” the report states. “As local economies reopen and restrictions are eased, consumers will be poised to burn off their accumulated pent-up demand for restaurants.”

Other findings from the report, which measures the impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry, as well as the state of technology and off-premises, labor and menu trends across segments, include:

  • Restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion.
  • As of December 1, 2020, more than 110,000 eating and drinking places were closed for business temporarily, or for good.
  • The eating and drinking place sector finished 2020 nearly 2.5 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus level.

The report, which reflects surveys of 6,000 restaurant operators and 1,000 adult consumers, confirms “2020 was the most challenging year ever experienced by the restaurant industry.”

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