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Restaurant operators optimistic, but labor fears loom large

Nation's Restaurant News surveyed nearly 300 participants in its annual Operator Survey. Find out what your restaurant industry peers had to say about labor, menu, growth plans and more.

Sales are improving and restaurant companies are optimistic about the future, but labor concerns loom large: This is the conclusion of Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Operator Survey. NRN surveys operators about their current conditions, the factors influencing those conditions and their outlook for the future.

This year, operators told us that traffic is improving — 59 percent of those surveyed said their traffic is better than it was a year ago. And 58 percent expect same-store sales to improve this year. The reasons for the rosier outlook vary, but operators said that improving disposable income and low gas prices are lifting sales. But labor issues remain a big concern. The top three worries for operators going forward are labor related, with the top concern by far finding and keeping quality employees.

—Jonathan Maze

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