Economy top of mind as MUFSO kicks off

WASHINGTON Somewhere between Friday’s market closings and the first speaker taking the podium Sunday, the economy overtook the election as the big topic of conversation on the first day of the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference.

MUFSO, an annual gathering of top executives from leading restaurant chains, was given a largely political theme because of its location near the nation's capital as well as the upcoming elections. The first sessions on Sunday indeed addressed such issues as who might be elected the next president of the United States and what that might mean for the restaurant industry. But the conversations quickly shifted to the current economic situation. “It’s an absolute disaster,” said Malcolm Knapp, the well-known industry researcher and economist.

Political experts noted that presentations slated for later in the conference would likely be tweaked to reflect the meltdown of the financial community, which saw the stock market plummet over the past week.

MUFSO is being held through Wednesday at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md. The conference is presented by Nation’s Restaurant News.