Texas has long been the hot bed of restaurant activity in the U.S.

With roughly $35 billion in sales expected in 2009, the restaurant industry in Texas is anticipated to be the leader in the restaurant sector in growth, according to the National Restaurant Organization, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The $35 billion figure represents a 4 percent increase in sales year-over-year. That's down from 5.6 percent growth in 2008, but still shows that Texas restaurants are bucking the recession. The national sales growth rate is expected to be almost half the growth of Texas at 2.5 percent.

In December 2007 California was #1 in restaurant sales, with Texas in the #2 position. We all know where California stands this day. Texas has outpaced the has-been leader and is kicking butt.

“Even in these tough economic times, it is clear that the Texas restaurant industry is the best place to do business in the nation,” said Richie Jackson, executive vice president and chief executive of the Texas Restaurant Association. “While our country is coping with the weakest economy in decades, Texas restaurateurs continue to buck the trends and post positive sales and job growth. We're also seeing some commitment to capital expenditures. Some owners are seeing this as an opportunity to look into real estate that they might not have been able to touch a year ago."

Also in December 2007, the National Restaurant Association statistics projected Texas to be in the #4 position for job growth. The three states forecasted to be ahead of Texas were Arizona, Nevada, and Florida, which are three states that have been the hardest-hit by the current economic situation. Texas, on the other hand, continues to have positive growth in this arena. Texas is clearly leading the restaurant industry this year and will be serving it up into the foreseeable future.

National Restaurant Association job growth prediction by State from 2008 through 2018:

Arizona: 26.9%
Nevada: 25.8%
Florida: 23.7%
Texas: 22.9%
Alaska: 22.8%
Utah: 22.5%
North Carolina: 22.4%
South Carolina: 22.0%
New Mexico: 20.8%
Colorado: 20.4%
Georgia: 20.2%
Washington: 19.8%
Arkansas: 19.7%
Alabama: 19.5%
Oregon: 19.5%
Mississippi: 17.7%
Delaware: 17.4%
Louisiana: 17.1%
Virginia: 16.7%
Idaho: 16.6%
South Dakota: 16.3%
California: 15.8%
Tennessee: 15.6%
Oklahoma: 15.3%
Kansas: 15.0%
Maryland: 14.2%
Minnesota: 14.2%
New Hampshire: 14.2%
Kentucky: 14.1%
North Dakota: 13.8%
Maine: 13.6%
District of Columbia: 13.1%
Indiana: 13.0%
Rhode Island: 12.6%
Vermont: 12.1%
New Jersey: 11.8%
Nebraska: 11.5%
Wyoming: 11.5%
Missouri: 11.3%
Iowa: 11.0%
Illinois: 10.9%
Wisconsin: 10.9%
Montana: 10.4%
Massachusetts: 9.1%
Michigan: 8.7%
Connecticut: 8.5%
West Virginia: 8.5%
Pennsylvania: 7.0%
Hawaii: 6.7%
New York: 6.7%
Ohio: 5.6%