While many industries have faced job cuts galore during the recession, the restaurant industry seems to be growing steadily and shows no signs of stalling out in 2012.
In 2011, restaurant industry sales are expected to reach a record $604 billion, and show a sales increase of 3.6 percent over 2010, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.
That sales growth translates into a projected job growth rate of 2.4 percent for 2011, compared with the 1.8 percent expected for the national economy, the NRA said, and that success has not been limited to just this year.
“During the challenging economic period of the last 11 years that included two recessions, there were 266,000 fewer total jobs in the economy in February 2011 than there were in January 2000. In contrast, eating-and-drinking places, which account for roughly three-fourths of the total restaurant-and-food-service work force, added 1.3 million jobs during the same period,” according to the NRA. “Overall, restaurant industry job growth outperformed the overall economy in each of the last 11 years.”
The NRA also said the “quickservice” restaurant segment is expected to post slightly stronger sales growth than the fullservice segment, coming in at about 3.3 percent growth over 2010 with $167.7 billion in sales, while fullservice restaurant sales are projected to reach $194.6 billion in 2011, an increase of 3.1 percent in current dollars over 2010.
In Tennessee, restaurants are expected to earn $9.1 billion in sales and boost 2011 employment of 257,800 to 281,400 by 2021, more NRA research shows.
Since mid-October, restaurants opening in Johnson City have created at least 200 new jobs for the area.
Bonefish Grill, which is set to open in the former Johnny Carino’s building on North Roan Street in early November, says it is hiring nearly 100 positions.
In the quickservice arena, Krispy Kreme’s Johnson City location is planning to hire more than 60 employees, full and part time. That store at 1100 W. Market St. is scheduled to open Nov. 15.
Chick-fil-A, which has new locations in Elizabethton and Bristol, also had one open its doors in mid-October in Johnson City, bringing with it 75 new jobs. Nationwide, Chick-fil-A opened 80 new stand-alone and in-line restaurants for a total of 4,500 new jobs nationwide. The chain anticipates creating about 5,000 new jobs in 2011.