RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Premier Cakes Diner Owner Bobby Outlaw has a lot to celebrate. He just opened his third location, this one is inside the North Carolina Museum of History.
"Here we are persevering and doing quite well," said Outlaw.
Customers are opening their wallets for his food and there's a line most days for lunch.
"I'm grateful, grateful for it. It's been a long time coming. It's been a lot of effort," said Outlaw.
The National Restaurant Association says there's evidence that the food service industry is helping to fuel the economy and that the wage increases are outpacing the overall private sector.
According to the NRA's recently released annual report, the food service industry is forecasted to reach $997 billion in sales this year and the workforce is projected to grow by 500,000 jobs.
The report also notes that 84 percent of consumers said going out to a restaurant with family and friends is a better use of their leisure time. Two-thirds of adults said they're more likely to order take-out than they were before the pandemic.
Laureen Sheehan is on a fixed income and says dining out is priority.
"I enjoy going out and I can't afford it at all times, but it's a luxury that can definitely be worth it," said Sheehan.
Outlaw recognizes that some other small business owners have not been so lucky in keeping their place open. He says it's important to find ways to handle inflation.
"Stuff that was very insignificant three years ago is very significant now, such as napkins, mustard packages, all the condimental. Instead of giving out a handful, you only give out one or two at a time so you're frugal with that," said Outlaw.
We are expecting the Federal Reserve to raise the interest rates again to fight inflation.