The study found that Harris County restaurants, drinking establishments and hotels accounted for nearly $8 billion in direct sales. The industry generated a further $5.3 billion for the region through purchases from local businesses and spending by employees.
Reggie Coachman is president of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association. He says early indications are that sales for 2012 will exceed last year’s.
“What I’ve heard is the industry is actually performing better than the 2011 numbers, to the tune of 1% to 2% growth over and above 2011. So that’s promising for us, and most people are projected they’ll go into 2013 with continued success.”
The study also found employment growth in the industry more resilient than in other sectors of the Harris County economy. It saw only one year of outright decline during the recession, compared to three years for most other local industries.
The hospitality industry is the fourth-largest employer in the county — behind health & social services, retail trade, and manufacturing.
Ernst and Young graph