Hudson Riehle, SVP of research and knowledge for the National Restaurant Association, and Rachel Roginsky, principal of the Pinnacle Advisory Group, both painted a good economic picture nationally and in New England for the foodservice and lodging industries when they spoke at the Economic Outlook Breakfast, hosted by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association in Providence on Sept. 8.
Riehle said 2016 and 2017 will see moderate industry growth in foodservice spending with a boost from declining food prices. Recruitment and labor retainment is the top operator challenge, while local sourcing, eco-friendly and ethnic dishes remain key menu trends. He said technology upgrades offer a competitive advantage and should be considered in order to aid operator productivity and increase customer loyalty.
Roginsky forecasted a bright future for the lodging market, particularly in Rhode Island. She said occupancy is expected to remain flat in 2017 due to supply growth catching up to demand growth for the first time since the recession in 2009.