VEGAS, March 6, 2007 - The American dream is alive and well in the nation's
restaurant industry, which continues to be a cornerstone of the American
economy even as other U.S. industries face major hurdles to their sustainability
Ed Tinsley, chairman of the board of the National Restaurant Association
(NRA), delivered a state of the industry address at the annual Nightclub
& Bar Beverage & Food Convention ("The Show") in Las Vegas on Monday
at the Las Vegas Convention Center, citing statistics such as the $1.4
billion in sales posted each day by the restaurant sector, an annual growth
rate of 5 percent and projected receipts of $537 billion in 2007 to make
his case that the country's 935,000 restaurants represent the American
dream for communities as well as individual Americans of all backgrounds.
"You only need to come to an event like this to appreciate the size
and scope of our industry," Tinsley told attendees of one of the largest
annual gatherings of hospitality professionals in North America. "Our size
and scope is truly amazing."
Nearly one third of Americans found their first job in a restaurant,
he said. And 50 percent of Americans have worked in a restaurant at some
point in their careers. The NRA president added that the restaurant and
hospitality field, expected to create 2 million jobs in the next decade,
also is quintessentially American in that it provides the opportunity for
any one who is willing to work hard to go from being a dishwasher in the
kitchen to the board room of corporate success.
"Twenty-five percent of eating and drinking establishments are owned
by African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans or Asian-Americans," he said.
"And (the number) is growing at a phenomenal rate."
With 12.8 million employees nationwide and an overall economic impact
of $1.3 trillion annually, when the related industries of agriculture,
manufacturing and transportation are included, the restaurant industry
is not without its challenges, however, Tinsley cautioned attendees. He
said that one of the biggest obstacles facing the industry now and in the
future is reconciling a jobs growth rate of 150 percent against a prime
labor force of 16- to 24-year-olds -- the group making up half of the industry's
labor force -- that is not expected to grow at all.
In some respects, Tinsley says the industry has fallen victim to its
own phenomenal success.
"Our size puts a big target on our back. We're seeing it at the federal
level, and we're seeing it in states like Nevada and Arizona," he said,
referring to bills such as immigration reform, the depreciation schedule
for new restaurant construction and minimum wage legislation now before
Congress. "Our mission at the NRA is to create an environment in which
restaurants can prosper, grow and continue to create jobs for millions
"The Show" this year enhanced its application to food and the restaurant
industry by partnering with organizations including the Nevada Restaurant
Association, the Arizona Restaurant & Hospitality Association, and
the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association, to create a mega-event for
the beverage and food industry. The international Las Vegas Restaurant
Show and the Las Vegas Hospitality Expo are being held in a co-location
with "The Show" this year. "The Show" is produced by Oxford Publishing
For more information about the National Restaurant Association, visit
http://www.restaurant.org. For more information about "The Show" visit