Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oregon’s Restaurant Industry During Recessions

Between 2003 and 2007, the number of eating and drinking establishments in Oregon increased 16.5 percent, which is faster than the 15.4 percent growth for all businesses. At the same time, the national number of food services and drinking places grew only 9.6 percent.

Between 2007 and 2008, the total number of businesses in Oregon grew by 0.5 percent. Employment across all industries declined 0.7 percent. However, in food services and drinking places, the total number of businesses grew by 3.4 percent and total employment grew by 0.4 percent. At the same time, Oregon continued to add population. Population grew by 1.2 percent, adding 45,000 people. This relationship between the food services and drinking places industry and population is a familiar trend.

Since January there has been a year-over-year loss in employment each month of 2009 for both full-service restaurants and limited-service restaurants. However, the employment loss has been more severe for full-service restaurants.

The loss in employment is not surprising considering one of the "few controllable expenses that restaurant operators have is labor," says Oregon Restaurant Association president Steve McCoid. As sales drop, operators "typically cut hours first and then positions second," continued McCoid.

According to McCoid, there have been more restaurant closings this year than in the past 10 years.

Read more about the history of Oregon's restaurant industry during the past four recessions.

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