The National Restaurant Association released it's 2013 forecast earlier this week, and the prognosis is another year of record sales, and job creation.
Local statistics in Chico seem to support the growth rate. In 2011, the city gave 26 new licenses to food distributors, and in 2012 that number went up to 44. But the rate stayed consistent at just over five percent of total business licenses issued.
One new restaurant looking to capitalize on that growth is The Handlebar. Co-Owner Brian Kanabrocki told our crews "we felt like there was enough interest in craft beer that it would support this kind of endeavor." And Co-Owner Carolyn Clevland added "We've gotten a lot of support so far. We've had a lot of help on the way, and we're excited about where this is headed."
But their optimism isn't shared by all restaurant operators. "You can lose everything," according to Pour House Operator Greg Lewis, "and most do."
Lewis says that high turnover rate does have an up side. Better retail spaces available, and with less established restaurants surviving, more customers to go around. "I've noticed it here. We tend to keep growing, and I believe that's because we have good food, good people, and good product here."
The Pour House has actually been so successful that they're already expanding less than 2 years after opening. Now, one of their own is looking to branch out, and start his own restaurant, Tannins Wine Bar & Bistro. "It's always been a dream to have my own small business, and be able to pay my own bills, be my own boss," according to Ryan Mothorn, who currently works as a cook at the Pour House.
And the forecast shows it isn't just restaurant owners that are seeing the benefits. The industry accounts for roughly ten percent of jobs in the country.