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Improved Restaurant Performance Prompts Revised Industry Forecast

CHICAGO -- Citing better-than-expected performance among full- and limited-service restaurants, Technomic revised its U.S. foodservice industry forecast for 2004-05.

Total industry growth for 2004 was 5.4 percent, a full percentage point higher than last September's forecast. While growth held steady across most U.S. foodservice segments, restaurants and bars triggered the change, with 2004 growth exceeding 7 percent, their healthiest performance since 1993. The 2005 forecast is also bullish, with a projected growth rate of over 6 percent, according to the foodservice consultancy and research organization.

"Last year was a very strong year for the restaurant industry, after three years of subpar performance," said Technomic v.p. Joe Pawlak. "Traffic growth, new units, and menu price increases all contributed to the positive performance of this sector."

Travel and leisure operators, including hotels and recreation, are also doing extremely well. Among the hardest-hit foodservice operations in the post-Sept. 11 environment, travel and leisure experienced 5.6 percent growth in 2004 and are expected to reach 9 percent growth in 2005.
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