Restaurants to battle for market share in 2012

Restaurants will continue to face budgetary challenges in 2012, forcing them to focus on customer experience management.

Restaurants will continue to face budgetary challenges in 2012, forcing them to focus on customer experience management.

While troubles are easing in some sectors, food costs are still rising and creating trouble for eateries. In fact, Fitch Ratings predicts that U.S. restaurants' food costs will increase by 5 percent, especially in light of more expensive beef and chicken, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Yet the source reports that while costs may remain high, consumer traffic in restaurants is expected to increase by 1 percent by the end of 2012, according to analytics firm NPD Group.

This number, though, is not as strong as it could be and may provoke marketing struggles between restaurants for consumers. Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for NPD Group, told the source, "It's not a strong number. It's really going to be a battle for market share."

Recent news about the economy may spur consumers to open their wallets and eat out, however. The most recent report on employment noted a gain of 200,000 jobs, dropping the national unemployment rate to 8.5 percent.