The restaurant industry is starting to show signs of growth after going through its worst decline late last year since the late 1970s.

According to recent surveys by the NPD Group in Port Washington, NY, restaurant sales are showing signs of slight growth after more than seven months of decline.

In a separate NPD survey, 14 percent of respondents said they plan to spend more money at full-service restaurants in the months ahead, and 12 percent said they will spend more on fast food. Although consumers are still going to keep their restaurant spending in check, the results show they may be loosening up a bit.

This could prove advantageous for the pork industry as it made tremendous advancements getting placed on more menus in the past few years. Total pork growth in foodservice from 1996 to 2000 is 22 percent. There are more pork offerings in the pipeline, with designs on keeping that momentum going.