A REPORT BY THE NATIONAL RESTAURANT Association was released Wednesday by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association projecting that Rhode Island's restaurant industry sales will increase 2.3 percent in 2014, and will add 3,100 more jobs by 2024. Dale Venturini, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, said the numbers represent 'the end of the tunnel' for a restaurant industry that has struggled in recent years.
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Hospitality Association on Wednesday hailed a new restaurant industry forecast from the National Restaurant Association that projects growth of 2.3 percent in sales this year in the Ocean State.
The national association expects 2014 sales in Rhode Island to reach more than $1.98 billion compared with $1.94 billion in 2013, and over the next decade, Rhode Island restaurants are expected to create 3,100 more jobs.
Restaurants will employ about 50,600 people in Rhode Island this year, and that number will increase 6 percent to 53,700 by 2024, the report projected.
“These new numbers represent a very positive outlook for the restaurant industry in Rhode Island,” said Dale Venturini, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. “Despite many obstacles over the past several years, it appears that we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
This year will mark the fifth consecutive year of restaurant industry sales growth nationally despite a still challenging economic landscape. Nationally, industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6 percent from $659 billion in 2013, the National Restaurant Association said.
This year will also mark the 15th consecutive year in which restaurant-industry employment growth will outpace overall employment growth across the country, the report found.
Restaurants will continue to be the country’s second-largest private employer with 990,000 restaurants employing 13.5 million individuals nationwide or 10 percent of the total workforce. The National Restaurant Association expects restaurants to add 1.3 million new positions in the next decade, pushing industry employment to 14.8 million by 2024.
“As our nation continues its road to recovery, the restaurant industry will remain a key driver of economic growth and a leading jobs creator,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurants touch every community across the U.S., and 2014 will be a year of growth and innovation as the industry focuses on inspired new ways to meet consumer demand while providing valuable careers to millions of Americans.”
Despite anticipated growth, operators will continue to face a range of challenges. The top challenges cited by restaurateurs varied slightly by industry segment and included government regulations, food costs, labor costs and the economy, the report stated.
For more information about the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast, visit www.restaurant.org.