Restaurant Sales Expected to Continue to Rise in 2004

December 17, 2003 -- Posted at 10:30pm

JONESBORO, AR - Restaurant sales are supposed to reach a record level of $440 billion nationwide in 2004. April Ellard understands why.

"By the time we get home from work, we just don't want to cook or clean-up, so we just go out to eat," said April Ellard, a wife and mother.

Numbers in Arkansas are expected to reach $2.3 billion, an increase of 4% from 2003.

Herb Lawrence, Center Director of the Arkansas Small Business Development Center at Arkansas State University, explained, "Jonesboro is in the top fourth as far as growth, and I think in restaurant growth, restaurant revenue growth, number of restaurants coming in is gonna be really very closely to not only the population growth that continues to occur, but the disposable income."

Lawrence has seen both winners and losers in the risky restaurant business. Salsa's is one of Jonesboro's newest restaurants. It took over the space where Danver's used to be located on Caraway Road. Owners and managers believe they'll serve up a success.

"We pretty much know what we're doing, you know, and we have good food, good quality, and we know that its' a good market," said Jesse Tenorio, General Manager of Salsa's.

The restaurant has been busy since it opened December 6th, and according to trends, sales should continue to stay strong. If everything goes as planned, next year will be the 13th consecutive year of growth in the restaurant industry. Texas should lead the south with $27.1 billion in sales.