12. 9 million employees, according to
the National Restaurant Association.
In fact, 50 percent of all adults have
worked in the restaurant industry at
some point in their lives, and one-
third of them had
their first job
experience in a restaurant, according
to the association. Because of busy U.S.
lifestyles, restaurants also account for
a large and growing share of the U.S.
consumer’s overall food budget— 48
percent now vs. 25 percent in 1955.
Given the industry’s vital role in the
U.S. economy, it’s not surprising that
the bankruptcy filings of some well-known restaurant companies over the
past year made headlines, not just in
the restructuring community, but in the
mainstream media as well. The parent
companies of large, familiar national
restaurant chains, such as Friendly’s,
Sbarro, Chevys, and Old Country
Buffet, have all filed for bankruptcy
within the past 12 months, seeking to
restructure, reimage, and reinvigorate
their brands to drive consumer traffic.
These particular concepts may have
grabbed the headlines, but their
troubles reflect wider problems
within the restaurant industry as a
whole, which has been suffering
through a difficult stretch for
several years. Throughout
the economic downturn,
traded down to lower-priced
restaurant alternatives or traded
out of the industry altogether, shifting
more of their food purchases into the
perceived value of the grocery sector.
While lower sales volume
presents challenges for
has certainly not
been unique to
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