Iowa-restaurant-logoMany restaurants around Iowa enjoyed a boom in business last year — a sign that the state’s economy is picking up.

Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, says Iowa restaurant revenues climbed to just over $4 billion in 2015. That exceeded projections of $3.6 billion.

“Additionally, we were expecting to add about 1,200 new jobs last year and we nearly quadrupled that with an additional (5,200) new jobs in our industry,” Dunker said. She credits a number of factors for the growth. “One is increased consumer confidence. Two is lower gas prices, which is increasing the amount of Iowans’ disposable income. Third is just the improving economy overall,” Dunker said.

The Iowa Restaurant Association is predicting even better sales in 2016, leading to 1,600 new food service jobs in the state.