Restaurant industry in the U.S. - additional information
The restaurant industry in the United States is a large one, with food and drink sales reaching 766 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. This figure was forecasted to rise even further in 2017, exceeding 798 billion U.S. dollars. The majority of these sales are generated in general eating places each year, including full service restaurants, limited service restaurants, cafeterias and bars. Within this venue category, full service restaurants make the most sales, with around 263 billion U.S. dollars expected for 2017. Limited service restaurants followed close behind with an estimated 234 billion dollars for that year.
Limited service, or quick service, restaurants are commonly referred to as fast food restaurants. Fast food has been popular in the U.S. since the 1950s when the global fast food chains of recent years, such as McDonald’s and KFC, were just starting to expand. Today, more than 44 percent of U.S. consumers visit fast food restaurants at least once per week. This is despite the fact that the nutritional quality of menu items at popular quick service restaurants leaves much to be desired. Not only is the calorie content of many fast food menu items high, but the sodium content often soars above the recommended amount. The median sodium content of all menu items at sandwich chain Subway was recorded at 990 milligrams in 2013.
That said, many limited service restaurants now offer healthy menus for those seeking a less-calorific alternative to the regular burger and fries. While the sodium content of Subway’s menu items was found to be high, a survey of U.S. consumers in September 2014 discovered that fast food patrons thought that Subway was the best fast food chain for healthy or health conscious food.