Consumers to Eat Out More in 2004

Technomic Inc., a highly respected food consulting and restaurant forecasting firm, released its annual forecast September 25th and predicted consumers will eat out at restaurants more in 2004 than they did in 2003. Ron Paul, president of Tehnomic, says despite negative unemployment and the deployment of troops to the Middle East, consumers will keep going out to eat because disposable incomes haven't fallen -- thanks to tax cuts and home refinancing allowing consumers to continue to spend. Technomic predicts restaurant sales will grow 3.2% in 2004, compared to 2.9% in 2003. Specialty concepts such as Quiznos, Panera Bread and Subway are expected to be the leaders in the QSR (quick-service restaurant) category.