Average Americans, however, aren’t sweating the challenges that business owners will experience next year, according to the December Market Briefing Survey, “The Post-Election Mindset: Cautious Hope,” by American Express. More than half of consumers surveyed said they expect the U.S. economy to brighten a great deal or somewhat in the next four years. A brighter future means more restaurant visits.
Next year, Louisiana’s annual restaurant sales are projected to top $6.8 billion, a 3.6 percent increase over 2012’s $6.5 billion, according to the NRA. Nationwide collectively, the nearly one million restaurants will ring up a whopping $660.5 billion in sales, up from $379 billion in 2000.
When asked by Amex, “If your personal financial situation improves, how is that likely to influence your restaurant visits and spending?” 67 percent said they would visit restaurant in general more often. Thirty-seven percent said they would patronize full-service, sit-down restaurants more often.
With a sluggish economic recovery, all-time high food costs, the impending Affordable Care Act enforcement and the deadline looming to extend the Bush/Obama tax cuts to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” restaurants are bracing themselves for even tighter margins.
Making a profit is the goal of every restaurateur. If consumer spending increases, hopefully restaurateurs we’ll have a chance to break even despite the challenges ahead.