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Trends in Restaurant AV

the National Restaurant Association projects that overall restaurant industry sales will increase in current dollars by 2.5 percent over 2008.

Despite the fact that consumers are cutting back on spending in reaction to the current state of the U.S. economy, the restaurant industry is expected to post modest sales growth in 2009. In its recently released "2009 Restaurant Industry Forecast," the National Restaurant Association projects that overall restaurant industry sales will increase in current dollars by 2.5 percent over 2008 (adjusted for inflation, 2009 may be down slightly).

At the upscale Simon Restaurant at Palm Place in Las Vegas, the three-zoned audio system is designed to be heard and not seen. Photo: Courtesy Moser Architect Studio

Whatever the case, restaurants represent 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product and employ 9 percent of its workforce.

The survey further suggests consumers are torn over their purchasing practices. On one hand, they expressed serious concern about finances, with nearly all respondents indicating that they are more worried about the economy than they were the year before.

On the other hand, 45 percent of adults said restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. One out of three indicated they were not eating out as often as they wished, and 35 percent said that, on a weekly basis, they were not purchasing take-out foods to go or having it delivered as often as they would like.

Nearly seven in 10 adults agreed that purchasing meals from restaurants, take-out, and delivery places made it easier for families with children to manage their daily lives, and nearly eight in 10 agreed that going out to a restaurant gave them an opportunity to socialize with friends and family.

Ronald Gorodesky, principal of the full-service consultancy Restaurant Advisory Services in Paoli, Pa., says the economy may have put a crimp in some new projects, but those restaurateurs moving forward with plans in 2009 will continue to look for contractors who can deliver a total AV experience, complete with individualized control of separate areas within the larger establishment.

That's good news for AV systems integrators looking to add a new market or revenue stream or strengthen existing ties in an already established specialty. To be successful in this increasingly competitive market, however, more firms are upping the AV ante, offering a broader array of services to restaurant and nightclub clients. That means not only doing what you know well, but also branching out into new territory.



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