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Report: Recovery in second half of 2010 for restaurants

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New York City The restaurant industry will not begin recovery until the second half of 2010, according to a new forecast from The NPD Group.

Traffic and sales declines will slow during the year's first half and will turn slightly positive starting in the third quarter, predicts NPD. "And it will take a year after that for the industry to return to where it was prior to the recession," said Bonnie Riggs, the research group's restaurant analyst and author of the report, "Restaurant Industry ... What to Expect When Economic Recovery Begins."

Restaurant traffic has been in decline for five consecutive quarters, according to NPD's tracking. In the latest quarter, ending in September, overall restaurant traffic declined by 4%, as did traffic in quick-serve restaurants and mid-scale restaurants. Casual-dining formats' traffic dipped 5%.