Entrepreneurial

Hearty 2011 seen for restaurateurs

This year the restaurant industry is poised to put up its best numbers in four years, buoyed by an increase of roughly 2 million jobs since the depths of the recession and improved household income.

Sales are seen rising 3.6 percent to $604 billion in 2011, according to forecasts from the National Restaurant Association, the industry’s trade group.

“When employment moves up it creates additional demand for convenience such as pizza,” said Hudson Riehle, the association’s senior vice president of research and information services. “Barring any unforeseen shocks, the future for the industry will continue to improve.”

The NRA said its predictive restaurant performance index – a monthly composite that tracks the health and outlook of the industry – stood at 100.9 for the month of April, roughly unchanged from March. It was the fifth consecutive month the number was above 100.

Restaurant operators continued to report net positive same-store sales in the month. Meanwhile, capital spending was also trending up, with 48 percent of operators indicating they had spent on equipment, expansion or remodeling in the last three months, the highest level in nearly three years.

Small businesses offer bin Laden specials

REUTERS/HO/RoadKillTshirts.com

As Americans took to the streets to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden, C. J. Grouse was rushing to print thousands of new t-shirts to take advantage of the occasion.

“This is probably the biggest bounce we’ve seen from an individual news story in the last five years of doing this,” said Grouse, 43, who launched RoadKill T-Shirts with his brother in 2005. “We had our designs up yesterday by noon and we sold over two thousand of the different designs in 24 hours.”

Grouse said his most popular seller has been a shirt with an Uncle Sam icon and the message: “We Got You Osama bin Laden May 1, 2011″. Other shirts include a bin Laden likeness behind red crosshairs and the slogan “Burn In Hell” and one inspired by Facebook, with the words: “Osama bin Laden Is Dead. 311,275,382 People Like This”.

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