Past, Present, and Future of the Restaurant Industry: A focus on the factors affecting restaurant sales and the consumer's demand for eating out
Dolbee, Kent M.
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In the first part of this paper, I discussed my summer internship experience at the L. Lee Stryker Center, including everyday duties, projects, relevance to college course work, and influence on future career choices. On several occasions throughout my internship, I listened to clients seeking assistance from the Stryker Center in regards to starting a new business. Investigating the profitability of not only individual companies but also entire industries greatly appealed to me. Since I had previously completed a report on the restaurant industry in my Industrial Organization course at Kalamazoo College, I had already developed some background information and an initial interest. The restaurant industry with its many statistics can be mathematically analyzed to more closely investigate issues such as trends in sales, overall profitability, changes in consumer demand, and price levels. While analyzing the restaurant industry, I examined two main issues. To evaluate the first question, changes in restaurant sales over the past twenty years, I collected a wide variety of data between the years of 1980 and 2000 looking for specific trends. The variables I investigated were restaurant sales, median household income, federal minimum wage, unemployment rate, and the U.S. population. Restaurant sales, median household income, and the federal minimum wage were all inflation adjusted. In addition to evaluating changes in restaurant sales, I also compared current consumer demand for food away from home to past consumer demand. To examine consumer demand, I focused on individual leisure time. To assess individual leisure time, I examined changes in workforce participation rates, particularly the increase in female workers, and changes in the number of hours worked per week. To fully answer these questions, I performed correlations and regressions to form my conclusions.