Technomic sees slower restaurant growth in '08

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Nominal growth in the U.S. food service industry is expected to trend downward to 3.6% in 2008 from 5.3% in 2007, according to market research firm Technomic. The research firm cited "a larger-than-expected slowdown in discretionary consumer spending" as the principal driver of the downtrend.

"Because the restaurant industry often serves as a leading economic indicator, our opinion is that the U.S. has most likely entered a recession, or is headed for one," said Ron Paul, president of Technomic.

Technomic said it factored in a 4% rate of inflation in determining real spending will drop in 2008.

According to the forecast, total restaurants and bars nominal growth is expected to decline to 3.8% from 5.9%, with limited service dropping to 5% from 6.6%, full service easing to 2.5% from 5.2%, and bars and taverns holding pat at 4%.

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