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NEW YORK -- The National Restaurant Association's (NRA) 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast predicts a banner year for the industry, with a record $631.8 billion in sales expected. This would mark a 3.5-percent increase over 2011, as well as the third year of positive growth in a row, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
"Driven by the continued national economic recovery and consumers' pent-up demand for the food, service and social outlet that restaurants provide, the U.S. restaurant industry is projected to expand in 2012," the NRA stated in its forecast. "Although both the nominal and real growth rates will be somewhat below the 2011 gains, industry growth will remain in positive territory for the third consecutive year."
Foodservice sales grew by 3.1 percent in 2010 and 4.0 percent in 2011 after two years of declining sales during the height of the recession.
When sales are adjusted for inflation, the foodservice industry is projected to grow 0.8 percent in 2012, following a 1.3-percent increase in 2011.
Foodservice sectors with the highest anticipated growth rates are military services, managed services in hospitals and nursing homes, convenience stores, gas station restaurants and grocery store restaurants, according to the report. No sector is expected to see negative growth.