National Restaurant Association: Increased Tourism Spending Key for Restaurant Industry Jobs

The National Restaurant Association expressed appreciation for President Barack Obama’s visit today to member company Walt Disney World in Orlando and pledge of support for the U.S. travel and tourism industry, which is of critical importance to the growth and success of the restaurant industry.

While in Orlando, the President also announced new members to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, including former National Restaurant Association board chairman Mike Gibbons, who is currently serving as Treasurer for the Association’s Educational Foundation. Gibbons, of Ann Arbor, Mich., is president and CEO of Mainstreet Ventures, which since 1981 has set the standard for fine dining in six markets in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and most recently Maryland.

“One of every three dollars in restaurant sales is related to tourism, so what occurs in the travel and tourism arena has a direct correlation to advancement of restaurant industry sales, as well as an impact on job creation,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the National Restaurant Association’s Research & Knowledge Group.

According to National Restaurant Association research, casual- and family-dining restaurants derive an average of 25 percent of annual sales from travelers and visitors. The trend is even more prevalent among operators of fine-dining establishments, with an average of 40 percent of revenues coming from travelers and visitors. In the quickservice segment, an average of 15 percent of annual sales come from travelers and visitors.

The restaurant industry employs nearly 13 million individuals – close to 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. Each additional million dollars in restaurant sales generates 34 jobs for the economy, and every restaurant job supports almost a full job position elsewhere in the economy. In addition, every dollar spent by consumers in restaurants generates an additional $2.05 spent in our nation’s economy.

The National Restaurant Association is a leading member of the “Discover America Partnership,” a coalition of business and hospitality industry leaders united in their efforts to help the U.S. become more competitive in the global travel marketplace. The group is working to advance common-sense reforms to the U.S. visa system in order to create more than one million new jobs and drive economic growth.

“With improvements to the U.S. visa system, such as boosting staff numbers, developing a fast-track process for renewals and expanding the visa waiver program to more countries, the U.S. could attract nearly 100 million more legitimate visitors,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the Association. “More visitors means an increase in revenue, which translates to jobs. New visitors could help create an additional 1.3 million U.S. jobs by 2020.”

The prestigious U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board consists of 32 corporate executives across the nation, representing all aspects of the travel and tourism industry, who are appointed to a two-year term to advise the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on policies affecting the travel and tourism industry. Click here to learn more.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at