A. Elizabeth Sloan

As restaurants go, so goes the nation. Or is it vice versa? Economic uncertainty, behavioral shifts, and fears due to 9/11, business spending cutbacks, travel aversion, high gas and utility bills, and a re-centering around home, family, and friends have all taken a bite out of foodservice sales.

McDonald’s’ Chipotle Grill.More than almost any other industry, the restaurant industry is a barometer of the American scene. Restaurants and other foodservice outlets are the nation’s largest private-sector employer, servicing 858…

Fig. 1—Category shares of the Top 400 restaurant chains. From Hume (2002)

Table 2—Top 10 growth chains ranked by % increase in sales. From Amer (2002)

Fig. 3—Kinds of take-out/delivery food brought home in the past week. From RoperASW (2002)

Table 3—On-site-baked/cooked proprietary products sold in convenience stores. From Chanil (2002)

Fig. 4—Deli sales distribution in 2001: 38.3% prepared foods. From RoperASW (2002)

Fig. 5—Food preferences by age, showing that Baby Boomers prefer seafood. From NPDFoodworld (2002) and Red Lobster

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