Sales projected to reach $40.8 billion mark
Eating out is healthy...for the economy at least. The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) (http://www.restaurantville.com/) projects Lone Star State restaurants will take in $40.8 billion in sales for 2013, up 5% over 2012 and the first time ever over the 40-billion mark. That makes Texas the top state in the nation for projected sales growth, which the TRA's CEO Richie Jackson calls a significant milestone.
"Even though we are still very much a Main Street type of business, we are also an economic juggernaut when it comes to our contributions to the economy, to employment," he tells KTRH. Jackson notes that the restaurant industry now employees well over a million people statewide, or about one in ten working Texans.
A major part of the growth in Texas restaurant business is happening right here. "Last year, sales in Harris County for our industry were almost seven billion dollars," says Jackson. "So a big chunk of that $40 billion that's spent in Texas is spent in Houston." Indeed, the Greater Houston Restaurant Association is projecting growth for 2013 near the same levels as the TRA. Jackson notes that the restaurant scene in Texas' largest city is the envy of most others. "In Houston, restaurants do so much more than just contribute to the economy," he says. "They also contribute to the quality of life."
The restaurant industry nationwide has proven remarkably resilient in the face of the recession and economic slowdown of recent years. The National Restaurant Association projects total restaurant industry sales to grow by nearly 4% in 2013, the fourth consecutive year of sales growth. With the booming growth in Texas, it stands to reason that a huge portion of restaurant growth in the U.S. will happen right here. Jackson credits the success to restaurants becoming a "part of the fabric of American life." “There are a lot of people who eat at least one or sometimes two meals a day out and only occasionally visit their kitchen to dust it off," he says. "And that's okay with us."
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