Restaurant construction is red hot despite thinning traffic

May 01, 2008 | 12:26 PM |

The weakening U.S. economy has taken a bite out of consumers' pockets, slowing the pace at which they dine out. Yet restaurant construction and renovation appears unfazed, for now anyway, sparking additional growth in the use of stainless steel for restaurant kitchens.

"The out-of-home market has slid a bit," Keith Gellman, president of, an Irvington, N.Y., market research firm, said. "People are not going out at the frenetic pace as they were."

Yet no matter how bad the economy gets, individual appetites remain voracious, so people continue to dine outside their homes, he said.

"I believe it's a blip," Gellman said. "People have to eat and they'll continue to eat out. They don't just stop. It's not bad news, just slower news."

End-market growth in the restaurant industry is driven by disposable income and lifestyles that have become distinguished by the regular consumption of take-out and restaurant meals, according to Eli Lustgarten, senior research analyst at Longbow Research, Independence, Ohio.....

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