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Length: Number of Speakers: 12 Mins, 52 Seconds Five

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Thank you, Marty. Now, we’ll hear from B. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president at the National Restaurant Association. We might have a problem. I take it Hudson is not online. So what we’ll do is we’ll open the floor for questions right now. And please, if you ask a question, please give your name and your organization. So the line is open for questions. Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please press star one. No questions? There’s – we have a lot of additional – go ahead I’m sorry. The first question is from Alan Jury (sp) of the Journal News. Hello? Yes Yeah, okay. A couple of questions. The last speaker said it’s not just good business; it’s the law to fill out the survey. Is it actually mandatory? Can there be penalties imposed for folks that don’t fill it out? Yes. The Economic Census response is mandatory. It’s required by the Congress and it’s part of the Census Bureau’s enacting legislation titled 13. There is a $5,000 fine for not completing a report form. Of course we’re interested in getting the voluntary participation of businesses, and that’s generally not been a problem. We’re available to provide assistance to companies either with their electronic reporting, or they can use our online assistance service. Is there any estimate of compliance in the past in 2002, in 1997? In 2002, we mailed out nearly 5 million report forms. And our response rate on a unit response rate, we got about 84 percent of those report forms back. Okay. Now, in terms of their contributions to sales and revenue, that 84 percent was well over 90 percent of the total. Okay. And I’m curious – I mean, you say 5 million? Why were there more then than now? I think there are more business now in the United States now.
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Well, this week we’re mailing 4.4 million report forms. We’ll continue to mail out about another 300,000 report forms over the next month, and these will be new businesses that have been identified in the second half of 2007. Okay. It will be just about the same this time, 4.7 million. Okay, and do you know how many – what percentage of the businesses in the United States that represents? I wouldn’t think that is all? There is a lot of businesses in the United States. No. Actually, there are 26 million businesses in the United States. Nineteen million of them are mom-and-pop stores – typically don’t have paid employees. You might think of them as sole proprietors. And then there are about 7 million business locations that actually have paid employees, and we’ll survey 4.7 million of those. Four point seven million? Yes. I just got word that Hudson really is online, so perhaps we can hear from Hudson and then we’ll go back to answering questions. Good morning, everyone. I apologize for the AV confusion. Basically, it’s very important for the National Restaurant Association to communicate how important the Economic Census is to the association and its members. It really has become a cornerstone of our knowledge regarding the size and scope of the restaurant industry. For example, we know that next year, industry sales will exceed $558 billion with a workforce in excess of 13.1 million individuals. That’s almost one out of every 10 employed individuals in the country today. However, the industry still is an industry that is dominated by small businesses. And from census data, we know that seven out of 10 are single-unit operations having less than 20 employees And so, how do we know all this, because census data truly has become pivotal in us noting the size and scope of the industry, as well as from a member service standpoint. The restaurant industry has been and always will be extremely competitive, and census data now can provide our savvy restaurant operators with a competitive edge. So for example, in the great new census web link, business.census.gov, our members now can literally go in and look at the number of establishments per million residents, the sales per capita, the number of employees per establishment, the annual payroll, and it really does give them a good sense of how to compare to others in the industry of a similar business profile. So in conclusion, the association is committed to getting the word out to our membership to ensure and motivate them in compliance with this five-year effort. Thank you.

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Thank you very much, Hudson. Okay, we’ll open the line for questions now. Thank you. Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press.
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Hi, thank you very much. My question was already answered, so I’m all set; thank you. Great. Theresa Murray, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Good morning, thank you. I have three quick questions. One, are the responses a onetime thing, or is there follow-up expected by the businesses in the future Well, response, we’re only requesting one response for the 2007 Economic Census. As I mentioned, the due date is February 12th, 2008. Businesses that haven’t returned their report format that day will receive another report form. But businesses are only required to fill out an Economic Census report form once every five years. Okay, and so there’s no follow-up, necessarily, for questions between now and the next Economic Census? No. Okay, and then you mentioned something about economic reporting, and I wasn’t clear on that. Are businesses supposed to mail the forms back in or are they supposed to report the data online? Businesses have that option. For most single-location businesses will probably fill out their form and mail it back, but many large homogeneous businesses, businesses that own and operate hundreds or thousands of locations, will find that electronic reporting will save them time and effort. And in 2002, we had almost a half a million report forms that were filed electronically. Okay, very good. And then the last question is how do we find out information on how many forms will be mailed out to specific states and county locations? We have estimates of that available on our website, and it’s business.census.gov Okay, I was on the site. I didn’t see where those estimates might be. But I can poke around a little more. Okay, it’s under the Q&A section. Okay. All right, thanks. Susana Gonzalez, Austin American Statesman. Hello, thank you. I just have three quick questions, one of which is a point of clarification. I wondered when you started sending these surveys out? Okay, well, actually the first economic data was collected as part of the 1810 Decennial Census. And of course, at that point, we collected data on manufacturing. But we’ve been doing the every five-year census since the mid-1950s. And the next question was when will the data be available for the public and for the
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business owners who participate in the survey?
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The first information, which we call our advance report, will be available in early March 2009. And that will be followed in April with the generation of over 1,000 industry reports. Thank you. And I just wanted to clarify your response to an earlier question. You said that 7 million of the 26 million businesses in the U.S. are business locations with paid employees. And of those, 4.7 will receive survey forms? That’s correct. Okay. And you have already begun sending out the survey forms, is that correct? Yeah, we had some of the largest companies – the 1,300 largest companies – we sent their report forms at the end of October to permit them time to distribute the forms among the companies. The remainder of the forms will be mailed this week. Thank you. Rick Haglund, Booth Newspapers. Yes, I have two questions. One is, how long is the form? How many pages? And second of all, I’m having a little trouble understanding how, let’s say, a small tool-anddye shop owner or restaurant owner in a city somewhere can use this information to help their business. Okay, this is Tom Mesenbourg. I’ll handle the first question and then I’ll give either Marty or Hudson an opportunity to answer the second question, how a small business can use Economic Census. The length of the report forms will vary by sector. For example, a construction form will typically be about 10 pages. A manufacturing form typically will be longer than that because we’re going to collect detailed information on the materials they use in the manufacturing production process, as well as the products that they produce. Now, having said that, every business is not going to have to fill out every line on the report form. We try to tailor the report forms to the specific industries, and they’d only have to fill in those materials that they actually used in the production process, and those products that they actually produce. But generally, it’s going to be about 10 to 15 pages long, because it’s collecting detailed information on inputs and outputs. And I’ll turn it over to Marty or Hudson to answer how small businesses can profit from the data. Well, I mean, small businesses – this is Marty Regalia with the Chamber of Commerce – small businesses use the data to analyze the customer base, and then they also then use the economic data that they get to analyze essentially their competitive base. So in the case of where they’re planning on business expansion, opening up new locales, moving into newer areas, they get extensive information from the Decennial Census on customers in that area, growth in that area, that sort of thing. But you don’t want to move into an area that has a tremendous amount of competition; you want to move into an area that in many cases exhibits characteristics that you have found beneficial to your business in the past. And you get this data from the census.
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Bigger businesses that sell to other businesses get information on their customer base from the Economic Census because their other customers are businesses. So to the extent that businesses engage in this business-to-business activity, you get invaluable information from data in the Economic Census. So it depends on the type of business you’re in, and the type of business that you engage in which part of the data you use. But you also want to – if you’re an informed businessman, you want – businessman or woman – you want to get information on the general economy and how various locales differ in terms of the industries that are there and the incomegenerating potential in those areas. And you wouldn’t be able to get accurate data on that without doing – without the information that we get from both the Decennial Census and the Economic Census, because these are the major data collections that allow BEA and the like to refine their interim more frequent data and to make it more accurate. So it really is integral to operating a business.
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This is Hudson. Just to tag onto what Marty was saying, we have a saying in the industry that demographics is destiny within the restaurant industry. And if you think about the type of really local information that is available to a neighborhood restaurant operator as a result of this five-year census, it is quite, quite important; as Marty was saying, not only in defining customers, but in terms of expansion opportunities. There are currently 935,000 individual restaurant locations within America. And the industry continues to grow. And where those new site locations are placed is very important in terms of ensuring the success of our members. And just as all restaurant sales really do end up being local, having this localized demographic and economic information is critical to the sustained growth of the industry. Thank you. Bryan Gentry, the Lynchburg News & Advance. Hi. I have really just one question, and it may have been partly answered by the answer to how long the form is. But I was wondering is there any kind of estimate to how long it might take a business, say, a small business owner, how long it make take them to fill out one of these forms? Well, the smaller businesses, typically, will be less than an hour because they won’t have the same sort of complexity and diversity as some of the larger businesses. In fact, we’ll be mailing out – including that 4.7 million forms, there will be about 800,000 of them that are actually only about two pages long. And they’re primarily checkbox inquiries, so those are quite straightforward. There are no further questions at this time. Thank you.

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