The National Restaurant Association (NRA) recently released its forecast for the restaurant industry citing that 2014 will mark the fifth consecutive year that this niche will experience sales growth – even in our continued challenging economic landscape. In fact, industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6% from 2013’s sales volume of $659.3 billion. Moreover, according to the NRA, 2014 also will mark the 15th straight year in which restaurant industry employment growth will outpace overall employment growth. The industry will continue to be the nation’s second-largest private employer with 990,000 restaurants employing 13.5 million individuals, or about 10% of the total U.S. workforce.

And, while every state is expected to see their restaurant industry workforce expand during the next decade, states in the southern and western regions of the United States will continue to lead the way in 2014. Arizona and Texas are projected to set the pace with restaurant and food service job growth above 15% between 2013 and 2023. Florida (15%), Nevada (14.7%) and Georgia (14.4%) are also expected see their restaurant employment base expand at rates well above the national average during the next 10 years.

It’s also expected that new restaurant construction will continue its robust expansion from last year into 2014. Fast-casual restaurants will continue to be built, and this year fine dining, white-tablecloth establishments are also making a big push. We’re seeing new restaurants popping up in cities from Fayetteville, North Carolina to downtown Dallas, Texas where establishments re now paying anywhere from $65 to $70 per square feet for space. In Orlando, Florida, more than $500 million in development has been invested in the International Drive area, which involves several restaurants among the resorts and shopping centers going up.

The state of the restaurant industry is good news for insurance agents and brokers already insuring this risk and those who want to expand their footprint. Critical to serving the insurance needs of restaurants is having a program designed to respond to the industry’s exposures. This includes coverage while under construction and once the restaurant is operational. At IPOA, our NationalPropertyPro division specializes in addressing the needs of large property values for a broad range of classes, including restaurants. Within our exclusive program, we can provide property insurance for all types of construction on a national basis for Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. Through our brokerage operation, we have access to several markets for risks that fall outside our program. Again, we can place coverage for accounts throughout the country, including those properties in coastal areas.

Give us a call at 877-653-IPOA (4762) if you are looking for an insurance home with sound strategies for your restaurant accounts. We have insurance and risk management solutions that can serve to help you write business and expand your agency.