#NRAShow Session: Restaurant Technology Is Critical for Tomorrow’s Success

Even with vendors of all type and kind on display, there’s one theme that stood out after day one of the National Restaurant Association: technology has become critical to the success and growth of restaurants nationwide.

In 2014, the restaurant industry is poised to hit a record high of $683 billion in sales, and according to Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge Group, that growth will be driven by the ability to drive repeat in-store visits and incentive customers to eat away from home more often.

Some interesting stats from Riehle’s presentation on the state of the industry:

  • Restaurant sales will increase 6.3% year over year, marking the 5th consecutive year of growth.
  • Overall restaurant industry sales are expected to hit a record high of $683B in 2014 - that’s 4% of the United States’ total economic output.
  • Each year, 50,000 restaurants close while 60,000 new restaurants open.
  • 47% of all food spend in the United Stats is from restaurants.  That’s up from 25% in 1955.  The main driver of this growth has been technology.

Overall, Riehle outlined a strong year for the restaurant industry, enhanced by greater usage of technology. The brands that succeed will be the ones that effectively use technology to nudge and incent consumers to dine with them.