Appetite for expansion
Several Local eateries eye new markets; outside chains consider metro-area locations.
This year could see a number of new restaurants across Mississippi, from a local dining favorite seeking expansion beyond Jackson to out-of-state chains looking to open their first lo- cation in the state.
The National Restaurant Association projects in- dustry job growth for 2013 to reach 2.4 percent, outpacing the expected overall job growth of 1.5 percent. Total sales are expected to be $660 billion, up 3.8 percent from 2012.
The Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant As- sociation says the dollar amount of “real sales,” or sales that don’t factor in menu price increases, should grow 2 to 3 percent this year.
If the national projection is met, it would mark the fourth straight year of sales growth in an industry that was battered during the worst of the recession as people cut back on or eliminated eating out. But Mike Cashion, the Mississippi association’s ex- ecutive director, says lingering economic concerns and higher food prices could temper the growth.