Arizona is projected to lead the nation in 2014 and throughout the next decade in restaurant industry sales growth, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Not surprisingly, it is also expected to post the fastest growth in restaurant jobs in the next decade.

North Dakota and Texas are second and third, respectively, for 2014 restaurant sales growth.

States that have the highest volume of restaurant sales and the largest number in the workforce are population dense and spread out over large geographic areas. These include Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas.

“Growth in both restaurant sales and employment is closely tied to what’s going on with economic and demographic trends, which can vary greatly by state and region,” says Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s senior vice president of Research. “States that are expected to have the strongest growth in overall employment, population, and real personal disposable income in the year ahead are also forecast to be the most positive when it comes to sales and jobs for restaurants.”

Restaurant sales in Arizona will rise to $11.0 billion in 2014, up 4.9 percent over 2013, projects the NRA. North Dakota’s restaurant sales will rise 4.8 percent to $0.9 billion, and industry sales in Texas will increase 4.7 percent to $42.6 billion. Florida, with $34.7 billion in sales, an increase of 4.5 percent, and Colorado, with $9.8 billion, an increase of 4.1 percent, round out the top five restaurant industry sales generators.

These leading five states are expected to top the restuarant industry's national average for 2014, which is projected to climb 3.6 percent to $683 billion.

In terms of restaurant employment growth over the next decade, Arizona is once again expected to set the pace at 15.6 percent, for an additional 41,500 jobs, followed by Texas at 15.3 percent (an additional 170,800 jobs), and Florida at 15.0 percent (an additional 134,600 jobs). Nevada and Georgia close out the top five at 14.7 percent (29,200 added jobs) and 14.4 percent (58,400 added jobs), respectively.

By Joann Whitcher

Industry News, NextGen Casual, Restaurant Design