US restaurant sector growth slows in 2008
The growth rate of the top 500 US restaurant chains slowed in 2008, reported a study by Technomic. The sector grew at a rate of 4.5% in 2008, compared to 5% in 2007. The study showed US systemwide sales for the leading 500 rose to an estimated USD230.2 billion in 2008, up USD7.6 billion over 2007. Many chains have had to scale back US expansion plans, faced with a drop in consumer spend and rising costs. Quick service chains grew by 4.5%, including an impressive 12% growth by the Asian sub-category. Notably, the ‘fast-casual’ sector continued to drive growth, led by Mexican chains Chipotle and Qdoba Mexican Grill. However, full service chains have struggled the most to attract consumers amid the recession and only grew by 0.9% in 2008. The Asian food sector grew at a rate of 9.3% and was the only full-service sub-segment with sales growth above their sector average.
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