INDUSTRY HEALTH

The restaurant industry future looks bright, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association, which has released its 2004 Restaurant Industry Forecast report. The industry is expected to post sales of $440 billion this year, an increase of more than 4% over last year, and employ 12 million individuals, which makes it the nation’s largest private-sector employer.

According to the association’s Restaurant Performance Index, a monthly composite index that tracks the health and outlook of the industry, the industry soared to its highest level ever in January with seven out of eight indicators registering gains. “The index also reflects a boost in plans for staffing levels and capital expenditures, which are positive developments for both the industry and the overall economy,” according to an association press release.

UPSCALE CHOICES

In a recent poll, Supermarketguru.com asked consumers what influences their menu selection most when they order a meal at a white tablecloth restaurant. Here’s what they said:

Selection is unique and different, something you can’t make at home: 46%

Description of selection on menu: 30%

Healthy selection: 11%

Cost of selection: 5%

Description of selection by waiter: 4%

Combo/what sides it comes with: 4%

SOURCE: Supermarketguru.com

VOLUMES OF AVOCADOS

If you feature something trendy with hass avocados on the menu now and then, you’ll be pleased to know that availability of the buttery flavored nutritious fruit only will increase. While California hass avocados dominate the volume consumed in the U.S., imports from Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic have increased the total volume more than 35% in the past three years.

The recently established Hass Avocado Board aims to develop a seamless marketing plan for the whole lot of avocados, which includes a plan for foodservice. The board’s new team members are working with restaurant chains and foodservice distributors to develop new menu concepts, promotion opportunities and distribution channels.

If you’d like to discuss avocado possibilities for your operation, contact the Hass Avocado Board, 38 Discovery, Suite 150, Irvine, CA 92618-3105; phone: (949) 341-3250.