Washington Restaurant Market Watch: America Loves its Restaurants

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: America Loves its Restaurants

By Paul Schlienz

The numbers don’t lie.

Americans love their restaurants.

According to the annual Gallup Work and Education Poll, restaurants are among the nation’s most highly regarded industries. And this is no fluke.

Restaurants have, indeed, ranked as one of the most highly regarded industries since 2001 when Gallup began its annual consumer perception of industries poll.

“Restaurants are the beloved cornerstones of communities across America,” Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association said in a news release. “America’s one million restaurants provide opportunity to 14 million Americans and have become an essential part of our everyday lives.”

Gallup’s poll, conducted Aug.3-7 on a random sample of 1,032 adults of 18 years of age and older with a 6 percent margin of error, asked Americans to rate industries on a scale from “very positive” to “very negative.” Sixty-six percent of respondents had a positive view of restaurants, 27 percent held a neutral view, while only 7 percent viewed restaurants negatively.

The computer industry is second only to restaurants on this scale. Gallup stated that the restaurant industry continuously scores so highly because it offers Americans “enjoyment and efficiency.”

“The restaurant and computer sectors have vied for the most well-reviewed U.S. industry in each of Gallup’s annual measures of this question since 2001,” Gallup said in a statement. “This year’s +59 net-positive score for the restaurant industry is well above its average +51 since 2001, whereas the computer industry’s +53 net-positive score is about average for that industry.”

Obviously, restaurants are doing many things the right way.

As the second largest private sector employer, in the U.S., with 10 percent of the nation’s workforce, restaurants are important economic drivers.

According to the National Restaurant Association, nine in 10 consumers report that they enjoy going to restaurants, while two in five say restaurants are essential to their lifestyles. Fifty percent of all adults have been employed by restaurants at some point in their lives, and fully one third of Americans found their first jobs in restaurants.

Restaurants are also on the right side of some major social trends.

In contrast to Baby Boomers and Generation X, the Millennial generation is likely to view restaurants as an essential part of life rather than a place to go for special occasions. Foodie culture, fully embraced by many Millennials who are taking food very seriously, is also driving restaurants’ popularity.

However you look at it, it’s clear that the restaurant industry has caught a perfect wave, and is riding it to untold levels of popular acceptance.

Keep up the good work, restaurateurs!