Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Shari Mason
Reports claim that restaurant sales in the US, on average, have recovered to approximately 75% of pre-pandemic levels as of 2023.
2020 – 2022 has been a whirlwind focal point for most restauranters. Most of them failed, closed temporarily or for good; some struggled to meet the new demands, and others remained standing still despite the inflation and change in trends.
So, what’s there to look forward to this 2023?
Here are some restaurant industry statistics you must look into if you want to keep standing still.
Restaurant Industry Stats in America Quick Summary
- The global online food delivery market size was valued at $189.70 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 10.8% from 2022 to 2028.
- The full-service restaurant revenue recorded a CAGR of 0.4% to $208.9 billion over the past five years, including 1.1% growth in 2023 alone.
- Nearly one in three Americans (over 70% of millennials and 60% of adults) have worked in the restaurant industry at some point.
- Gen Z isn’t as interested in dining out as Gen Xers were.
- As of 2023, there was an evident 2.73 million decline in the US restaurant industry, with 12.9 million employees in 2022 to only 12.17 million.
- 92% of American consumers read restaurant reviews, and roughly 33% of diners won’t eat at a restaurant with less than four stars reviews.
- 51% of restaurant owners say that hiring, training, and retaining restaurant staff is the biggest challenge they face.
- QR code payments are projected to grow to 240% between 2020 to 2025, spurred by the demand for cashless payments due to the pandemic.
- Influencer marketing is projected to grow by 42% between 2019 and 2024
- There’s a 7.2% jump in bar and restaurant sales as of January 2023, marking the biggest sales increase in 22 months.
Top 40 Restaurant Industry Facts, Trends & Statistics For 2023
1. The restaurant industry was forecast to reach $898 billion in total sales, with a growth of 12.4% from 2021 – 2022.
According to the National Restaurant Association Releases 2022 report, the food service industry in the US is expected to reach $898 billion in sales, a 10.9% increase from 2021.
Although the total sales revenue has yet to be revealed, the food service industry reached a 12.4% growth rate from 2021 – 2022, according to reports.
The full-service restaurant revenue recorded a CAGR of 0.4% to $208.9 billion over the past five years, including 1.1% growth in 2023 alone. 
Meanwhile, the limited-service segment was forecast to reach up to $355 billion, a 7.9% increase from 2021 to 2022. 
2. Around 55.75% of diners go out to eat several times a week, with another 44.25% going out to eat at least once a week.
According to Tasting Table’s 2022 study, 44.25% of diners eat out at least once a week, 25.08% eat out two days per week, and only 7.83% of diners eat out five or more days per week.
Subsequently, 7.19% eat out at least four times a week, and 15.65% eat out three days weekly.
Additionally, based on Popmenu’s 2022 report, regardless of higher menu prices, 58% of American consumers dine out more often in 2022.
At least 58% of Americans still prefer dining out despite higher restaurant menu prices.Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
On the other hand, roughly 30% of diners spend at least $180 on restaurant food weekly.
3. The restaurant industry contributed a 2.9% gain in the United States GDP as of the fourth quarter of 2022
As of 2022, the average American consumer spending limit climbed 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2022, contributing a 2.9% gain of the US GDP , exceeding the consensus forecast of 2.6%.
Meanwhile, food and beverage  consumption increased by 2.8% to $1.31 trillion in the 2022 fourth quarter and 3.5% to $1.28 trillion for the full year.
Furthermore, the food and beverage performance in the fourth quarter of 2022 marked a whopping rebound from a 7.6% year-over-year decline in the third quarter.
4. The Projected annual sales in the restaurant industry are $863 billion – that’s 4% of the country’s gross domestic product.
The National Restaurant Association predicted that the restaurant industry sales would reach $898 billion in 2022, translating to more than 4% of the country’s gross domestic product.
The 2022 sales prediction represents a nominal growth  of 12.4% from its 2021 sales, with real growth translating into a 6.6% year-over-year increase.
However, the NRA also predicted an 11.5% decline in real terms of overall industry sales from 2019 to 2022.
The National Restaurant Association 2022 Industry Prediction
- Limited-Service Restaurants
- $355 billion in sales
- 1.9% real growth
- 3.2% decline in sales (real terms)
- Full-Service Restaurants
- $289 billion in sales
- 5.3% increase from 2021 (real terms)
- Sales At Bars
- $21 billion in sales
- 11.7% increase in real terms
- 16% decline in real terms
5. There are roughly 349,000 chain restaurants in the US as of 2023.
According to IBISWorld, there are 349,000 chain restaurant businesses in the US as of 2023, an increase of 2% from 2022. 
Top 3 States With The Most Number Of Registered Chain Restaurants
|Rank||State||Number of Registered Chain Restaurants|
|2||New York||3,199 businesses|
6. About 90% of restaurants in the United States have less than 50 employees.
As of 2022, there are 14.9 million restaurant employees in the US, but 9 out of 10 restaurants are reported to have fewer than 50 employees.
Moreover, only 7 out of 10 restaurants are single-unit operations, 9 in 10 restaurant managers started in entry-level positions, and 8 in 10 restaurant owners started their business careers in entry-level positions. 
7. 2.5 million restaurant employees lost their jobs throughout the pandemic.
Reports claim that 2.5 million restaurant industry jobs disappeared throughout the pandemic. The reports also declared that roughly 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed, whether temporarily or for good, throughout the pandemic.
According to CNBC, the food service sales in 2021 came in at $659 billion, which is a whopping $240 billion lower than its pre-pandemic sales projections for $899 billion in total sales for 2022. 
Did you know that prior to the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association predicted that the restaurant and food service industry would provide 15.6 million jobs in 2020? 
8. 51% of Americans use delivery services to purchase meals from restaurants.
Reports say that at least 51% of American consumers use delivery services to purchase restaurant meals.
The global online food delivery market size was valued at $189.70 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8% from 2022 to 2028. 
At least 51% of Americans choose to use food delivery services to buy meals.Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Reports also claim that 57% of young people preferred food delivery because they want to watch movies and TV series at home, while 56% of customers don’t want to leave their homes.
9. 1 in 3 Americans had their first job experience in a restaurant.
Nearly one in three Americans (over 70% of millennials and 60% of adults) have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives.
The restaurant industry will be the second largest private employer in the US in 2021, employing 14.5 million people. 
10. Gen Z isn’t all that interested in dining out.
According to a recent NPD Group survey, Gen Z isn’t as interested in dining out as Gen Xers were.
Their survey reported that 18 and 24-year-olds ordered from restaurants 218 times on average between February 2021 and February 2022. Based on the data, it was 23.24% lower compared to how Gen Xers used to patronize restaurants.
The report suggested that in 2002, during the Gen Xers’ ages between 18 and 24, they ordered 284 times apiece in a year. Meanwhile, during those targeted ages, Millennials ordered or went to restaurants 244 times a year. 
11. As of 2023, there are 12.17 million employees in the US restaurant industry.
As of 2023, there was an evident 2.73 million decline in the US restaurant industry, with 12.9 million employees in 2022 to only 12.17 million.
There are 166,000 jobs in the eating and drinking places, 1.3% below the February 2020 (12.34 million) employment peak.
Subsequently, roughly 1.6 million new restaurant jobs are predicted to be added through 2029, a 9% growth in restaurant employment.
Additionally, the National Restaurant Association projected that there will be 17.2 million restaurant employees by 2030. It would be a 7 million increase in over ten years.
12. Roughly 33% of diners will not eat at a restaurant with less than four stars.
92% of American consumers read restaurant reviews, and roughly 33% of diners won’t eat at a restaurant with less than four stars reviews.
Furthermore, Business Wire claims that 77% of diners prefer peer reviews to critic reviews, and 75% of diners would stay away from restaurants with negative reviews about their cleanliness.
13. About 38.6% of restaurant workers are women, and 57.9% are men.
Reports suggest that the restaurant industry is dominated by men, with roughly 38.8% of women workers and 57.9% of men restaurant workers.
Zippia Expert says that Restaurant Manager jobs are male-dominated. 48.1% of restaurant managers are female, and 51.9% of restaurant managers are male in the United States. 
However, other reports claim that companies underreport the percentage of female restaurant workers. For instance, 55% of employees say they’re female, yet companies say that just 35% of their workers are women. 
14. The #1 challenge for most restaurant owners is finding and maintaining quality staff.
According to reports, the #1 challenge for most restaurant owners is finding and retaining quality staff, followed by controlling growing operational costs and reaching new customers.
In fact, 51% of restaurant owners say that hiring, training, and retaining restaurant staff is the biggest challenge they face.
15. Digital food ordering has increased by 135% since June 2020.
Since June 2020, digital food ordering has reportedly increased by 135%. This may have been due to the pandemic, but even when the pandemic has slowed down, digital ordering seems to stay longer.
2022 Digital Food Ordering Quick Facts:
- 30.4 million Americans will use apps to order food and groceries
- 92% of restaurants offer digital orders
- 28% of consumers ordered food online to save time from cleaning and cooking
- 80% of restaurants use digital ordering, reservation, and inventory
16. Online food ordering is expected to grow to over $220 billion by 2025.
Compared to dine-in traffic, Nation’s Restaurant News claims that digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster since 2014.
Roughly 60% of consumers are expected to order their food online in 2022, 42% of which plan to order directly from restaurants, while 14% will be more likely to order using third-party apps.
17. Roughly 90% of restaurants still use cash-out tips as a tipping method.
Even when everything seems to curve towards digital ordering, roughly 90% of restaurants still disburse their tips to workers in cash.
Despite surveys claiming that consumers are typically overwhelmed by tipping requests, most diners still tip between 15% to 20%. 
Fun Fact: QR code payments are projected to grow to 240% between 2020 to 2025, spurred by demand for cashless payments due to the pandemic. 
18. About 63% of restaurants use social media as their main method of advertising.
According to reports, approximately 63% of restaurants use social media or food influencer marketing as their main method of advertising.
eMarketer also claims this type of marketing is projected to grow by 42% between 2019 and 2024.
Top 5 Most Used Social Media Platforms in the US as of 2023
|Rank||Social Media Platform||Brand Awareness Percentage||Number of Users|
19. Due to minimum wage increases, 65% of restaurants have increased menu prices.
Because the Raise the Wage Act is under consideration in Congress, seeking to gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by June 2025, 98% of restaurant operators said they need to raise their menu prices, accordion to National Restaurant Association.
82% of the operators openly say the raise in the minimum wage would negatively impact their business, especially since they haven’t bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic yet.
Grocery prices jumped 13.5%, and restaurant menu prices increased by 8%. 
20. 36% of American diners are part of a loyalty program.
Only 36% of American diners are currently subscribed to a restaurant loyalty program, but 86% of diners display interest in joining to get discount coupons for free items.
Similarly, 85% of American diners expressed interest in joining a rewards program to get free items.
Moreover, 32% of these diners engage with restaurant loyalty programs weekly or more often. 
21. When ordering online, a patron is more likely to use a restaurant’s website than a third-party site like Grubhub.
According to Grubhub, 40% of restaurant orders will be made online in 2023. 
However, studies reveal that most patrons are more inclined to use the restaurant’s website to order than third-party apps like Grubhub.
Additionally, 84% of restaurant patrons prefer looking at the restaurant menu ahead of time, and 79% of customers often look at the restaurant’s official website.
22. There are 156,715 Single-Location Full-Service Restaurants businesses in the US as of 2023.
According to IBISWorld, there are 156,715 Single Location Full-Service Restaurants businesses in the US as of 2023, with a 2% industry growth per year on average over the five years between 2018 – 2023. 
Top 3 States With The Most Number Of Single Location Restaurants
|Rank||State||Number of Registered Single-Location Full-Service Restaurants|
|2||New York||14,472 businesses|
23. 35% of diners said they are influenced by online reviews before trying out a new restaurant.
Reports claim that roughly 35% of diners are influenced to try restaurants by online reviews. And according to Harvard Business School, a one-star increase of a restaurant on Yelp can increase its profits between 5% and 9%.
24. There’s a 7.2% jump in bar and restaurant sales as of January 2023, marking the biggest sales increase in 22 months.
A 7.2% jump in bar and restaurant sales marked the biggest increase in 22 months. Restaurant receipts also jumped up to 25%, about four times the inflation rate in the same span. 
Fun Fact: The US beer industry revenue is projected to grow to $111.5 billion in 2022. And it is expected to keep growing by 9.38% each year.
25. As of 2022, the turnover rate in the restaurant industry is 62%.
The average turnover rate in the restaurant industry is 66.3% pre-pandemic. However, new studies show that from August 2021 to August 2022, a 62% turnover rate was recorded.
The overall turnover rate in the QSR sector alarmingly sat at 144%. A 5.6% quit rate was recorded for the accommodation and food services industry, higher than other industries. 
26. 78% of diners prefer locally sourced ingredients which will somewhat likely influence their decision to choose a restaurant.
According to the 2022 Dining Trends Report, 78% of diners prefer locally sourced ingredients, making their specific preference to determine which restaurant to eat at. There was a recorded 49% growth rate from 2017.
27. 75% of restaurant owners say they plan to invest more resources in recruiting and retaining employees.
A staggering 75% of operators of understaffed restaurants saw a 10% decline in the necessary staffing levels. According to them, understaffing pushes them from rolling out new digital solutions and improving employer and customer experience. 
Hence, these owners claim they plan to invest more resources in recruiting and retaining employees.
28. The average portion size for food has almost doubled since the 1980s.
According to studies, the average portion size for food has almost doubled since the 1980s. For instance, a typical bagel in the mid-1980s measured about 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter. Today’s standard bagels are twice as wide — about 15.2 cm (6 inches) each. 
Reports also claim that restaurant owners resorted to downsizing food portions to make ends meet since reducing the monthly wage of their staff can affect their business negatively.
29. 54% of millennials believe that a self-ordering kiosk improves the guest experience.
As per Mad Mobile, as many as 60% of Millennials prefer using self-ordering kiosks to order. Indeed, restaurant owners aren’t the only ones in favor of digital resources like self-ordering kiosks.
According to Kiosk Industry Group 2022, the self-service kiosks market in the US is valued at $10.4 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% to reach $16 billion by 2025.
30.40% of employees with inadequate training will likely leave the job within a year.
Go2HR claims that roughly 40% of restaurant employees with inadequate training will leave the company within a year. However, dissatisfied employees might be kept longer if they are offered training for their personal growth.
- Companies might gain 21% more profit if they invest in employee training
- Annual losses could lead to more than $500 billion
- 94% of employees stay longer when offered employee training
- 74% of employees want more training because they think they have untapped potential
- 76% of employees look for opportunities to advance their careers
- 68% of employees want to train in the workplace
- A little more than 4 million employees left their jobs each month
31. 40% of restaurants say they currently use Tiktok to promote their restaurants.
61% of restauranteurs still use Facebook to promote their restaurants, making it the most popular social media platform in the restaurant industry.
However, Tiktok is slowly taking the spotlight, with 40% of restauranteurs beginning to invest in social media platforms to promote their restaurants.
In fact, many operators reported that many customers come to their restaurants after watching the Tiktok video. Additionally, studies show that Tiktok actually replaced Google as the search engine of choice for Gen Zers.
21% of Gen Zers check out TikTok before dining out.
32. 50% of people still want printed receipts.
According to Toasttab, 50% of diners still prefer printed receipts, 36% prefer digital receipts, and 14% don’t want any receipts at all.
33. 40% of the average household’s food budget is spent on restaurants and eating out.
According to a Popmenu report made in May 2022, on average, 40% of an individual or household’s food budget is spent on eating out and restaurants.
There’s about 33% of customers spend roughly $50 or more per order made online. 
34. 61% of American diners say they are more likely to eat healthy at a restaurant than they were two years ago.
61% of diners say they’re making healthier choices dining out than they were two years ago.
77% of business travelers consider eating healthy to be important when traveling, while 64% prefer healthier menu options, and 43% want to see published nutritional facts.
35. Sales from delivery are expected to rise for the next few years.
Grandview Research projected the food delivery market to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% in 2023. 
In 2021, the global Online Food Delivery market size was valued at $152 million but was expected to expand at a CAGR of 10.98%, reaching $284 million by 2027. 
Meanwhile, the entire food delivery app industry is expected to reach a $320 billion market size by 2029, from $140 billion in 2022 to $320 billion in 2029.
36. Food Quality is ranked of the highest importance by customers when deciding where to dine. Location and customer service followed shortly.
Of the 2,600 diners surveyed for the report, 68% rank food quality as the most important factor when deciding where to dine. Location, customer service, and price follow close behind, at 66%, 64%, and 62%, respectively. 
37. 55% of diners love breakfast all day and would likely order breakfast items at any time if they were offered.
Studies show that 55% of diners love breakfast all day, and if given a chance, they would order breakfast any time.
Recent research also shows that Americans love breakfast so much that some are willing to give up dinner over it. In fact, 31% of Americans would give up dinner entrees, while only 25% would give up breakfast foods.
38. 41% of restaurants use tablets now instead of pen and paper when taking orders.
According to Cuboh, at least 41% of restaurants prefer using tablets instead of the traditional pen and paper when taking orders because it reduces the chance of taking incorrect orders and unhappy diners.
Furthermore, National Restaurant Association says more than 8 in 10 restauranters say using technology provides a competitive advantage. 
39. Local sourcing, zero-waste cooking, fresh produce, healthy kids’ meals, and global flavors are some of the recent food trends.
The National Restaurant Association’s 2023 What’s Hot Culinary forecast revealed that chicken sandwiches would rule the roost, especially if fried, spicy, or sweet-heat fusion. 
The 2023 food trends also include local sourcing, zero-waste cooking, fresh produce, healthy kids’ meals, and global flavors.
40. 71% of diners agree that technology improves their experience.
According to research, 71% of consumers say online, and on-premise restaurant technology improves their guest experience.
Is the restaurant industry growing or shrinking?
Yes, the restaurant industry is growing in sales, based on the third quarter of 2022 sales. By the end of 2022, the food industry is projected to reach $899 billion in sales. 
What is the #1 reason that restaurants fail?
According to Binwise, bad location is the #1 reason restaurants fail. However, inexperience, inflated costs, improper pricing, lack of marketing, and disorganization are also on the list.
What are the two major segments of the food service industry?
The two major segments of the food service industry are commercial and noncommercial.
What is the biggest threat to the restaurant?
According to GrubHub, the biggest threats to restaurants are finding and retaining quality staff, controlling growing operational costs, and reaching new customers. 
Is a restaurant a difficult business to run?
Yes, a restaurant is a difficult business to run. With the inflation and pandemic recovery still in process, 50% of operators expect to make less profit in 2023.
Let’s Sum It Up
The restaurant industry is changing significantly – from restaurant food trends to technology, so restauranteurs must keep up.
In this instance, it’s excellent to say that you need to know the numbers.
It’s always best to be updated on the current demands to help you understand how to help your restaurant stay ahead of your competition.
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