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U.S. restaurateurs are simultaneously optimistic about the future and concerned about inflationary trends in commodity and labor costs for the remainder of 2009, according to the 2nd Annual ArrowStream Foodservice Industry Survey.
Conducted in August by ArrowStream, a provider of supply chain solutions for the foodservice industry, the survey was completed by more than 50 restaurant chain executives, including members of the ArrowStream Network of restaurant chains, distributors and manufacturers that reportedly moves almost 10 percent ($15bn) of the products in the foodservice industry.
"Restaurant executives are indicating some light ahead in this long, dark tunnel of industry and economic challenges," said ArrowStream CEO and Chairman Steven LaVoie, pointing to plans to increase budgets, improve supply chain processes and generate logistics efficiencies as examples of key competitive strategies of the industry leaders surveyed.
Despite lower sales expectations, a full 50 percent of all restaurateurs expect better profitability in 2009 compared to 2008 due to cost cutting and lower commodity prices, which boosted profits.
While operators are warily optimistic, they are brutally frank about the need for improvement in supply chain operations and very open about the areas of most need including visibility and forecasting. More than three quarters of all restaurateurs said that additional visibility into freight costs would improve the supply chain process. And 61 percent reported that logistic efficiency strategies will support the coming year's business objectives.
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