According to the 2016 American Express Restaurant Trade Survey, restaurant operators are feeling bullish about the economic environment: 39 percent of restaurateurs say they see the economy improving and expanding opportunities for their businesses over the next six months, while another 32 percent expect their businesses to grow regardless of the economic climate. Restaurateurs are projecting an average revenue growth of 33 percent in 2016.
Other topline findings include:
Biggest technology trend for the restaurant industry in the next 12 months predicted by restaurant operators is mobile payments.
Almost two-thirds of restaurant operators said they would possibly increase the price of their menu items due to rent increases.
Twenty-nine percent of restaurant operators plan to adopt the no-tip trend facing the restaurant industry while 18 percent report that they have already adopted.
Restaurateurs are anxious about retirement savings—65 percent are somewhat to very worried about the ability to save for retirement. However, succession planning is not a concern as 71 percent have a succession plan in place.
The most popular consumer food trends that restaurateurs adopted/plan to adopt or would like to adopt is plant-based foods or more veggie offerings (92 percent).
The study was released in advance of the 27th annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program, which will take place from June 16—19. Chefs, restaurateurs, and leaders in the hospitality industry will converge as part of an exclusive feature of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. The program offers a forum for attendees to exchange business ideas and growth strategies, discuss industry trends and fortify relationships with peers. This year’s program will feature three panels that offer insights from best-in-class culinary talent on topics including technology’s impact on the restaurant industry, the role mentors have played in chefs’ and restaurateurs’ development, and how the industry is adapting and responding to current economic trends and changing consumer tastes.
“American Express has been an advocate of the restaurant industry for over 30 years, providing merchants with insights and resources to help them scale their businesses,” says Gunther Bright, executive vice president of Merchant Services-U.S., American Express. “Restaurant operators see growing their businesses and making their restaurants more innovative as the two most important priorities, according to our survey, and the American Express Restaurant Trade Program creates an environment that fuels culinary inspiration and ideas to help drive the future of the industry.”
The schedule for the 27th annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program is as follows:
9:15 to 10:30 a.m. —T100: Meet the Masters: Adaptation
Moderated by: Andrew Zimmern (Chef, Author, Teacher; Host, Co-Creator & Co-Producer, Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel)
Panelists: Hugh Acheson (Chef, Restaurateur and Top Chef Judge), Tom Douglas (Chef/Owner, Tom Douglas Restaurants), Barbara Lynch (Chef, Restaurateur and Owner, Barbara Lynch Gruppo) and Tony Mantuano (Chef/Partner, Spiaggia)
Topics: Panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities of remaining relevant in the industry, and how they adapted areas of their businesses to meet the demands of an ever-changing landscape.
1:30 to 2:45 p.m.—T200: The Power of Mentorship
Moderated by: Andrew Zimmern
Panelists: Wylie Dufresne (Chef), Marcus Samuelsson (Author, Chef and Owner, Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, Streetbird Rotisserie), Christina Tosi (Chef, Author, MasterChef Judge and Founder & Owner of Milk Bar) and Jonathan Waxman (Chef, Author and Owner of Adele’s, Bajo Sexto Taco, Barbuto, Brezza Cucina, Jams, Waxman’s)
Topics: Moderator Andrew Zimmern will speak with two pairs of chefs that demonstrate the value of the mentor-mentee relationship. Panelists will discuss personal mentorship philosophies and share insights on how mentor relationships have influenced their careers and kitchens.
9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.—T300: Technology’s Impact on the Hospitality Industry
Moderated by: Tyler Florence (Chef, Author, Owner and Television host of several Food Network shows)
Panelists: Maureen Cushing (Vice President of Technology and Processes, Union Square Hospitality Group), Michael Jacobs (Partner, Corner Table Restaurants) and Nic Jammet (Co-founder of Sweetgreen and Sweetlife)
Topics: Panelists will explore best practices and insights on the rapidly shifting landscape of restaurant technology and share key tips on adapting and thriving as this technology continues to evolve.