Restaurant managers, owners, and industry professionals are faced with major concerns as 2013 gets underway. According to a recent survey from NRN.com, approximately 40 percent of survey respondents chose health care as the “top business concern for 2013.” Health care concerns were followed closely by concern over consumer spending, at 31 percent; anticipated increases in commodity costs, at 20 percent; and tightened access to growth capital, at 8 percent.
Concerns about the 2013 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are primarily rooted in the worries of additional costs due to mandatory insurance coverage for full-time employees.
Many experimental techniques to deal with the upcoming increased costs has drawn consumer backlash, including Darden Restaurants Inc.’s (owner of restaurants such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster & Longhorn) test of limiting full-time workers in existing units in some markets.
Consumer spending also left poll respondents uneasy, with 31 percent expressing that as their biggest concern. Commodity cost pressures concerned 20 percent of poll respondents. An early December U.S. Drought Monitor report found more than 62 percent of the contiguous United States remained in some form of drought, affecting wheat and pasture conditions for cattle.
Access to growth capital was a trailing concern among those participating in the poll, with only 8 percent expressing that as a top issue. The National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast indicated that restaurant operators were finding some loosening of the purse strings.“Looking forward to 2013, operators in both the full-service and limited-service segments indicated that they plan to ramp up capital spending,” the NRA forecast said. About three out of 10 full-service operators said they planned to devote more resources to new equipment in the year ahead, similar to 31 percent of quick-service operators and 26 percent of fast-casual operators.
Remodeling and renovations were a higher priority for operators. About 46 percent of fine-dining operators said they plan to devote more resources to remodeling or renovation in 2013, according to the NRA Forecast. Four out of 10 casual-dining, quick-service and fast-casual operators also said they plan to spend more on remodeling or renovation in 2013.
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