The economy may still be in the tank, but restaurateurs, it seems, are nonetheless expecting things to get better this year: according to Nation’s Restaurant News, the National Restaurant Association is projecting that the industry will enjoy a gradual improvement in sales, thanks to increased employment, disposable income, and national population counts.
The NRA is projecting that sales will hit $580.1 billion this year, a 2.5-percent increase from last year’s. Although sales will remain more or less flat from 2009, that will still mark an improvement over last year’s 2.9-percent real sales declines.
In other words, the industry, according to one NRA wonk, is feeling “cautious optimism” about 2010. More specifically, it’s feeling optimistic about the lack of time dual earners have to cook at home, their inability to “easily duplicate” the food they’re served at restaurants, and the fact that, no matter how bad the economy, people still enjoy spending their hard-earned cash on food that somebody else has made.