Arizona Restaurant Industry is Starting to Look Up

Food porn like this burger from Gallo Blanco might've made you eat at more restaurants.

Have you been dining out more in 2010? If so, you're not alone.

This past year has seen a slight boost for the state's restaurant industry, according to a story in this morning's Republic business section.

The Arizona Restaurant Association anticipates annual revenue to total $8.6 billion for 2010, an improvement over last year's $8.4 billion. Compared to the national average, though, our bump was modest, likely because restaurants suffered the same recessionary downslide as the tourism industry here.

In Phoenix, sales tax revenues for restaurants and bars in the first for months of the 2010-2011 fiscal year were up 3.1 percent over the same period a year ago.

At the same time, the rate of restaurant closures has gone up to 5 percent, and may climb as high as 7 percent.

In 2011, I predict your inboxes will be flooded with more Groupon imitators than ever, that we'll continue to see ever more creative marketing (whether through social media, dinner specials, or one-off events), and that budget-friendly comfort food will still dominate menus.

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