Citing improving economic indicators and other signs of resilience in the restaurant industry, industry monitor Technomic released revised growth forecasts for 2002.

Ron Paul, president of Technomic, commented: “While these numbers still fall short of our original projections, there are clear signs of improvement compared to what was originally expected in 2002, following the events of 11 September.”

Shifting Growth Expectations in 2002 for Major US Foodservice Segments (% Nominal Growth Relative to 2001)

                                 Original        Revised           Latest
                                 Forecast       Estimates         Forecast
     Segment                  (August 2001)  (September 2001)  (January 2002)
     Limited Service/Fast Food      3.3%            2.0%             2.0%
     Full Service Restaurants       4.5            (0.2)             2.0
     All Other Foodservice          3.3            (0.5)             2.2
     Total Foodservice              3.6%            0.2%             2.1%

Full service restaurants, in particular, are showing stronger performance, with impressive same store sales growth coming from such major casual dining players as Applebee’s, Chili’s, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Additionally, several midscale competitors such as Bob Evans and Denny’s have displayed positive same store sales.

Other foodservice segments beyond restaurants, including supermarkets, c-stores, education, nursing homes and vending are expected to maintain solid growth ranging from 2.5 – 4.5%. Although still suffering, hotel occupancy, airline passenger and theme park attendance are showing signs of recovery.