Macro-environment analysis of the restaurant industry, in reference to research presented by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in its 2016 Restaurant Industry Pocket Fact book, reflects various opportunities for growth and profitability. The major factors are socio-cultural, economic and technological, where the former is represented by increases in the number of people who appreciate and partake of ethnic (66 percent) and international cuisine (80 percent) (NRA, 2016). Visits to restaurants using locally produced food items are at 68 percent, eco-friendly foods at 60 percent while for healthful options is at 70 percent and 61 percent are likely to order takeout from table service restaurants (NRA, 2016). Furthermore, 9 out of 10 people enjoy going to restaurants, half of them acknowledge restaurant dining as part of their lifestyles, 7 out of 10 admit that restaurants have inimitable flavours and 8 out of 10 prefer to dine out during leisure rather than cook and clean up (NRA, 2016).
This implies that opportunities for growth and profitability in the restaurant industry therefore lie in providing the identified food options, whether in combination or singularly. This is bolstered by favourable economic projections of restaurant sales increases of up to 782.7 billion dollars as well as the growing restaurant market share of the food industry (47 percent) (NRA, 2016). With regards to technology, smartphones provide opportunities for growth through sales and marketing especially when 75 percent of potential customers view restaurant menus on phones while 72 percent indicate that the phones enhance convenience (NRA, 2016). However, the opportunities are dampened by number of people utilizing smartphones (technology) for restaurant service payments (39 percent), those using them to dine out or order takeout (37 percent), those who believe that they make visits and orders more complex (42 percent) and those receptive to text message marketing by restaurants (31 percent) (NRA, 2016). Nevertheless, greater efforts in providing easy-to-use, safe and convenient technologies in restaurant service provision will enhance the available opportunities for growth and profitability.

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    References
  • National Restaurant Association. (2016). 2016 Restaurant industry pocket factbook. Retrieved from http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/News-Research/PocketFactbook2016_LetterSize-FINAL.pdf