As the longest ever federal government shutdown grinds on and chatter about a potential recession grows louder, retail and restaurant CEOs and investors are gathering in Orlando, for the ICR conference.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shake Shack, Domino's and Darden are town to dish about their digital strategies and convince shareholders that they have a plan for dealing with ever-changing consumer habits. More than 160 private and public companies are set to make presentations over the three-day conference at the Grande Lakes Hotel.
The conference is a "good gauge of how things are going to shake out" in 2019, said Peter Saleh, analyst at BTIG.
In the past, companies have announced new executive hiring, menu items, and in some cases, entirely new approaches to age-old problems like labor retention and rising minimum wages. No doubt, investors will be listening carefully to what these companies are saying about the strength of the consumer and where spending could be heading.
Eating out at restaurants is one area where consumers will cut back if they grow worried about the economy. Restaurants in Washington, D.C., have already felt the pinch as federal workers go without paychecks.
Those economic questions come as the restaurant industry is facing a number of other challenges including a rising rate of online orders and higher labor costs.
Here are three things that analysts are paying attention to in the restaurant industry this year: