There were three objectives that this survey aimed to achieve, namely to determine the major species of seafood products handled, to determine the sources of seafood products served, and to estimate the annual gross sales and direct employment generated by the seafood restaurant sector. These results will be used in estimating the economic impacts of the Mississippi seafood restaurant sector in terms of total output, income, employment and by major species. Updated economic impact estimates by major species are needed by the state regulatory agencies in managing these specific commercial fisheries.
The results of this survey serve as benchmark information about the restaurant sector in estimating how natural or technological disasters impact the industry. The changing perceptions about local seafood arising from these disasters also have serious effects on the economic sector. A follow-up survey is strongly recommended to determine the economic changes in the restaurant sector arising from the recent oil spill which impacted the Gulf of Mexico region.
A total of 292 restaurants operating in Mississippi completed the survey in summer and fall 2011 representing a gross response rate of 19.5%. The results of the survey indicated that more than two-thirds of the randomly selected restaurants which completed the survey reported that they served seafood products in 2009. The lists of fish and shellfish species preferred by seafood restaurants are important since several of these species are harvested from the state and federal waters or grown in fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico states.
The leading fish species purchased by the participating establishments was catfish followed by tilapia, salmon, tuna, and snapper. The second group of fish species purchased by participating seafood restaurants included mahi-mahi, grouper, cobia, red drum, and sea trout. The third cluster of fish species served by the seafood restaurants which participated in the survey included pollock, black drum, cod, mullet and haddock.
Shrimp was the top shellfish species purchased by the participating establishments trailed by oysters, crawfish, scallops, and blue crab. The second cluster of shellfish species purchased by participating seafood restaurants included snow crab, lobsters, squid, mussels and clams. The third bundle of shellfish species served by the seafood restaurants which participated in the survey included Dungeness crab, king crab, octopus and roe.
Among the restaurant businesses which served seafood in 2009, the annual seafood expenditures averaged $53,926. The annual seafood purchases of the participating restaurants from Mississippi suppliers averaged 44.42% of their seafood requirements. The annual seafood purchases of the participating restaurants from other Gulf of Mexico states averaged 31.28% of their total seafood expenditures. The expenditures on finfish species, primarily catfish, tilapia, salmon, tuna, and snapper consisted 35.42% of all the seafood purchases by participating establishments which served these products. The purchases of shrimp products comprised 43.25% of the total seafood purchases by participating business. The purchases of oyster products contributed an average 7.6% to the total seafood budget of the participating businesses. The budget for crab products added an average 5.16% to the total seafood expenditures of the participating businesses.
The establishments which participated in the survey were generally small or medium-size businesses. The small-size businesses with total annual gross sales below $200,000 comprised 28.8% of all the participating establishments. More than one-fourth consisted of medium-size restaurants with total annual gross sales between $200,001 and $500,000. There were 13.5 full-time workers employed in a typical business establishment in 2009. In addition, the participating restaurants hired an additional 9.6 part-time workers per establishment. Among those businesses which served seafood in 2009, the net revenue shares of seafood sales averaged 26.46% of the total annual gross sales.
Source: Posadas, Benedict C., Amanda K. Seymour and Ruth A. Posadas. 2016. Survey of Seafood Products Handled by Mississippi Restaurants. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1219, Mississippi State, Mississippi.