43 Food Service Industry Statistics To Know

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Hey, Foodie Fam!

2023 is serving up more than just mouthwatering dishes; it’s dishing out a buffet of trends and stats that are shaping the world of dining.

Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast, a restaurant owner, or just someone looking for the hottest spots in town, these 43 Food Service Industry Statistics are your VIP pass to the behind-the-scenes action.

From the tech takeover revolutionizing your favorite eateries to the quirky dining habits of different generations, we’ve got the lowdown on what’s sizzling hot in the food service scene. So, grab your fork and join us on this delectable journey through the tantalizing stats that are spicing up 2023!

Restaurant Sales Statistics

Welcome to the financial feast of the food service world! Dive into the dollars and cents as we explore the forecasted $997 billion in restaurant sales for 2023, showcasing not just recovery but a thriving industry finding its rhythm post-pandemic chaos.

$997 Billion Feast

Brace yourself for a flavor-packed year in the food service industry! The National Restaurant Association predicts a whopping $997 billion in restaurant sales for 2023.

It’s not just a rebound from the chaos of 2021; it’s an 11% surge from 2022, and a remarkable 20% jump from the pandemic year. The industry is breathing easy again, with growth reminiscent of the good ol’ days in 2019.

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Cheers to 7.2% Jump

In January 2023, bars and restaurants saw a celebratory 7.2% spike in sales—the most significant leap in 22 months. Overall restaurant receipts flaunted a 25% increase between January 2022 and 2023, roughly four times the inflation rate.

But here’s the twist: while sales look promising, the costs beneath the surface, including rapid wage increases, add a dash of reality to the financial menu.

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Menu Prices on the Rise

Brace your taste buds and wallets—overall menu prices soared by 8.6% between April 2022 and April 2023. The National Restaurant Association’s research unveils that April 2023 marked the ninth consecutive month of at least an 8% year-over-year increase in restaurant prices.

As prices outpace grocery costs for the first time since mid-2021, it’s a mixed bag—higher prices are boosting sales, but could they dampen restaurant enthusiasm?

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Dollar Signs Doubling

Toast’s study reveals a financial love story: a Valentine’s Day dinner for two at a full-service restaurant in 2023 averaged $121 plus tax, doubling the 2018 average of $69. A five-year leap that mirrors the industry’s rollercoaster.

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Surprisingly, despite headlines about high prices, 74% of US adults planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day by dining in or ordering takeout from a restaurant.

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RPI: The Pulse Check

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rings in at 100.9 in April 2023, a tad lower than March’s 101.7. Don’t be fooled by the numbers; anything over 100 signals growth. The restaurant industry is in recovery mode, gradually returning to its growth rhythm after navigating through the unpredictable years.

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Pizza Who?

Move over, pizza! Thai, Chinese, and Southern cuisine are stealing the spotlight across the US. Toast’s analysis paints a delicious picture—these flavors are becoming the new crowd-pleasers from Salt Lake City to Cleveland.

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Beyond the Menu

In 2022, 44% of customers went off-script, buying non-food and beverage items from their favorite restaurants. This trend is set to intensify in 2023, with a predicted increase to 54%. Restaurants are expanding beyond their culinary boundaries, offering more than just a meal.

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Diversify or Bust

Hold onto your aprons—88% of restaurants are set to expand their product lines beyond food and beverages in 2023. From shelf-stable ingredients to cooking classes and branded merchandise, the options are as diverse as the industry itself.

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Digital Dining Dominance

The digital revolution is on the menu! On average, 25% of a restaurant’s revenue comes from digital sales. Early adopters of the digital wave are even seeing a staggering 50%. Brace for more, as digital sales are predicted to climb to 33% of overall sales by 2023.

But beware, order inaccuracies and inconsistent customer experiences are the flies in this digital soup, with over two-thirds of customers pointing them out as the main hiccups in their online ordering experience.

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Restaurant Employment Statistics

Let’s step into the bustling kitchen and front-of-house dance. With projections painting a picture of 15.5 million restaurant employees by the end of 2023, discover how the industry is not just recovering jobs but reshaping the workforce landscape.

Job Market Extravaganza

Get ready for a hiring spree in the food service industry! The National Restaurant Association predicts a savory addition of 500,000 jobs, bringing the total employment to a hefty 15.5 million by the end of 2023.

This figure not only surpasses the pre-pandemic 2019 workforce of 15.3 million but also stands a mere 0.4% shy of the staffing peak in February 2020. May 2023 marks the 29th consecutive month of employment growth, showcasing the industry’s resilience.

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Employee Retention Matters

While job numbers are on the rise, keeping those positions filled is a different story. A staggering 55% of restaurant owners have their eyes set on employee retention in 2023.

Considering the average restaurant employee held their job for just 110 days from 2021 to 2022, it’s a smart move. The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research estimates that replacing a frontline restaurant employee can cost over $5,000.

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Staffing Shortage Saga

Brace for the understaffed reality! Restaurants are currently running with 1.7 to 3.7 fewer hourly employees than in 2019. Quick-service restaurants are down by an average of 1.7 employees, while their full-service counterparts are managing with 3.7 fewer hourly employees per location compared to the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

Chronic understaffing, a pre-pandemic woe, remains a persistent challenge, leading to a cycle of burnout, turnover, and perpetual understaffing.

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Turnover Tango

In 2022, restaurant turnover hit a high note—14% to 24% higher than in 2019. Quick-service restaurants saw a heart-pounding 24% increase, while full-service restaurants experienced a 14% jump.

Rising wages between 2020 and 2022 aimed to slow down this revolving door. As the pandemic’s long tail fades and the Fed tackles inflation, stable wages might give restaurants a breather, encouraging staff to stick around.

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Job Growth on the Menu

Good news for job seekers! Employment for food and beverage workers is projected to grow by a tasty 9% from 2021 to 2031—faster than the average for all occupations.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a return to the industry’s pre-pandemic job growth glory, with many vacancies arising from seasoned hospitality workers retiring or shifting careers.

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Wage Watch

It’s payday in the restaurant world! The median hourly wage for food and beverage serving and related workers sits at $12.49. Data from May 2021 reveals a 15% increase over 2018 levels, and with wages on the rise since 2021, it’s likely the figures will be even juicier in 2023.

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Youthful Flavor

Ever had your first job at a restaurant? You’re not alone! The food and beverage industry proudly employs more 16- to 19-year-olds than any other sector. With flexible hours and weekend gigs, it’s the go-to spot for students juggling work and classes.

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Diversity on the Menu

A melting pot of talent! The restaurant industry takes the lead in diversity, with nearly half of restaurant managers identifying as minorities. This makes it one of the most diverse employment sectors in the country.

Just like the varied cuisines they offer, restaurants celebrate diversity in their workforce, creating a rich tapestry of backgrounds and experiences.

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Restaurant Issues & Outlook Statistics

Behind the scenes, challenges and triumphs shape the dining experience. From the intense competition expected by 47% of restaurant operators to the evolving dynamics of lunch sales, join us as we unravel the complexities steering the restaurant ship in 2023.

Battle of the Eateries

Hold tight; 2023 is gearing up to be a culinary showdown! A survey by the National Restaurant Association reveals that 47% of restaurant operators are bracing for more intense competition this year.

The pandemic reshaped the restaurant landscape, thinning the herd but fueling a hunger for convenience among customers. With rising costs and tech advancements in play, expect a year of innovation as small eateries embrace new business models and cutting-edge technology.

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Lunchtime Dilemma

According to research by POS brand Toast, the lunch hour is caught in a culinary tug-of-war. In major metro areas like New York and Chicago, lunch sales are down by a substantial 15% to 23%, courtesy of the remote work revolution.

On the flip side, smaller markets like Kansas City and Charleston are savoring a 2% to 3% boost in lunch sales. The battleground is set, and the lunchtime landscape is evolving.

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Food Cost Frustration

Brace for impact—92% of restaurant owners are feeling the pinch as they tag the rising cost of food as a “significant issue” in 2023, per the National Restaurant Association. It’s a tough balancing act in an industry known for tight margins. Despite the stress, customers are still dining out, opting for more budget-friendly options.

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Fast Lane vs. Slow Lane

A traffic split emerges—quick-service restaurants (QSRs) revel in a 3% increase in customer traffic in 2023, while full-service joints face a 2% decline. Customers still crave dining out, but they’re leaning towards budget-friendly options.

Despite this trade-off, overall restaurant traffic remains slightly up, with 51% of restaurant owners reporting increased customer visits in February 2023.

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Breakfast Boom, Dinner Dilemma

The search for affordability extends to meal times. QSR breakfast visits enjoy a 10% surge, while lunch and dinner visits dip by 1% to 3%. Full-service restaurants experience an even steeper decline of -13% during dinner hours. It’s a quest for value that guides the dining choices of budget-conscious customers.

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Service is the Secret Sauce

Winning hearts through service! A whopping 53% of restaurant operators declare that enhancing service is a key goal for 2023.

According to Black Box Intelligence, positive customer service reviews translate to six times more traffic than competitors and 1.5 times higher sales growth over four years. It’s not just a short-term strategy; investing in customer service is the recipe for long-term success.

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Operational Odyssey

The quest for profitability takes center stage as 46% of restaurant operators set their sights on reducing operational costs in 2023. It’s a smart move, with the secret ingredient being smart technology. Automation becomes the ally, streamlining tasks and paving the way for a more cost-effective operation.

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Restaurant Technology Statistics

Get ready for a tech-infused culinary adventure! Uncover the critical role of technology in survival for 57% of restaurant operators, explore the rise of AI and machine learning, and understand how the industry is embracing a digital transformation to enhance the dining journey.

Tech Survival Stories

A whopping 57% of restaurant operators credit technology adopted since 2020 as critical to their business survival, as revealed by a survey by POS brand Lightspeed. Inventory data emerges as the hero, with 60% deeming it essential.

Additionally, 42% leverage inventory tools for smarter food costing and waste reduction, while 21% embrace in-house online ordering to cut down on third-party commissions. Scheduling software also earns its keep, with 12% relying on it to streamline employee scheduling.

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Automation Aspirations

The dream of liberation! According to Square’s research, 31% of restaurant operators aim for automation to free them from mundane tasks, allowing a sharper focus on critical business aspects.

While full-scale AI drive-thru attendants might be a stretch for some, automation can alleviate administrative burdens, from scheduling employees to managing invoices and placing vendor orders.

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Cloud POS Surge

Cloud POS technology takes center stage, with 25% of restaurant owners planning to invest in it during 2023. This shift signifies a continued embrace of POS technology, following widespread adoption during the pandemic years of 2021 and 2022.

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In-House Delivery Dominance

The in-house delivery trend persists, as 61% of restaurants plan to continue offering food delivery directly through their establishment. This marks a 12% increase from 2022, aligning with customer preferences for direct ordering, perceived accuracy, and fewer fees compared to third-party services.

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AI and Machine Learning On the Horizon

A tech revolution is underway, with 70% of restaurant operators gearing up to explore AI and machine learning tools in 2023. This represents a significant leap from 2022 when only 13% prioritized AI/ML.

Robotics and voice technology also capture the attention of innovative restaurateurs, ushering in a wave of efficiency, automation, and increased profitability.

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Ordering Channels Unveiled

The landscape of takeout orders unfolds—38% of diners place takeout orders directly through a restaurant’s website, while 35% opt for the traditional phone call.

Third-party apps capture a 15% share, with DoorDash leading the pack at 68%, followed by Uber Eats at 56%, and Grubhub at 36%. A restaurant website revamp is in order to streamline the online ordering experience for customers.

Copy Script to Clipboard Copy Code!

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Self-Service Kiosk Craze

Automation meets customer preference, as 61% of diners express a preference for using self-service kiosks to place orders at fast-food restaurants.

The data aligns with studies indicating that customers order 15% to 30% more through kiosks, showcasing the effectiveness of self-service in boosting sales.

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Loyalty Program Love

Millennials are loyalty enthusiasts, with 41% participating in restaurant loyalty programs. Independent restaurants can capitalize on this trend, as millennials are projected to become the largest generational cohort in the early 2030s.

Restaurant owners looking to secure loyalty should consider adding loyalty and rewards software to their tech arsenal.

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Tech-Powered Delight

A resounding 71% of diners express that online and on-premise restaurant technology enhances their guest experience. From self-service kiosks to tap-to-pay terminals, technology proves to be a welcome addition.

However, tread carefully—around 30% of diners may find new tech confusing or even tech-phobic. Communication is key to ensuring a seamless transition without alienating less tech-reliant customers.

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Restaurant Consumer Preference Statistics

It’s not just about what’s on the menu; it’s about what customers crave and savor.

From the preference for local independent restaurants (63%) to the growing influence of TikTok on dining choices, the journey through the nuanced landscape of consumer preferences shaping the gastronomic scene.

Yelp’s Love Affair with Restaurants

Yelp’s 2023 list of the 50 most loved brands reveals that 28 of them are restaurants, underscoring the fervor customers express for their favorite eateries. Customer passion, as echoed on Yelp, becomes a significant indicator of brand loyalty.

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Local Love Trumps Chains

A staggering 63% of diners express a preference for local independent restaurants over chains, according to research by TouchBistro.

Baby Boomers lead the charge, with 69% favoring local establishments, while Gen X (65%) and Millennials (55%) follow suit. Gen Z lags at 40%, potentially driven by cost considerations.

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Weekly Dining Rituals

Dining out is a weekly affair for 44% of customers in 2023, per TouchBistro. Gen Z (62%) and Millennials (57%) are the primary drivers of this trend. In contrast, Baby Boomers trail behind, with only 36% opting for weekly dining excursions.

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Leisure vs. Culinary Ambitions

A shift from ambitious home cooking to quality time with loved ones—84% of consumers deem going to a restaurant with family and friends a superior use of leisure time compared to cooking for themselves. The focus on social connection takes precedence over culinary prowess.

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Quality Reigns Supreme

In the quest for dining satisfaction, 68% of dine-in customers prioritize food quality, according to TouchBistro. It’s a near tie with location (66%) and customer service (64%) in the hierarchy of customer priorities.

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Trust in Employee-Centric Operations

Acknowledging the impact of headlines on worker conditions, 47% of consumers view “employee-centric” restaurants as more trustworthy, per Qualtrics. While customer treatment remains paramount (66%), positive employee treatment contributes to a restaurant’s perceived trustworthiness.

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Understanding Price Pressures

Good news for independent restaurants—88% of consumers would understand if their favorite local eatery raised prices due to inflation, according to Square’s research. However, the majority (55%) would find a 1% to 10% increase acceptable, emphasizing the need for transparency.

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Preferential Pickup

For takeout orders, 35% of consumers prefer picking up their orders directly from the restaurant. This preference ensures food quality and helps cut down on delivery fees.

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Drive-Thru for Mobile Orders

The convenience-seeking crowd suggests a dedicated drive-thru for mobile orders, with 21% expressing this desire. Implementing this idea could streamline operations and enhance the customer experience.

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Millennials’ Last-Minute Search

A digital-savvy generation, 60% of Millennials begin their search for a restaurant just an hour before visiting. Ensuring an enticing online presence, including websites and social media channels, becomes crucial for capturing their attention.

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Conclusion

And there you have it, folks—the dish on the food service industry in 2023! From the local joints stealing the show to the tech trends making dining a breeze, it’s clear that this year is a feast for both foodies and restaurateurs alike.

As we navigate the culinary landscape, one thing’s for sure: the way we dine is evolving, but our love for good food and great company remains constant. So, whether you’re planning your next foodie adventure or thinking of adding some AI magic to your own restaurant, these stats are your roadmap to staying ahead of the curve. Cheers to a year filled with delicious bites, delightful experiences, and the ever-evolving world of food!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How has the pandemic impacted restaurant sales in 2023?

Amid the pandemic’s turbulence, restaurant sales are on the rebound, projected to hit a whopping $997 billion in 2023. The industry’s resilience is evident, with a forecasted 11% surge from 2022, signaling a hearty comeback.

2. What’s driving the shift in popular cuisines across US cities?

Move over pizza! According to Toast’s analysis, Thai, Chinese, and Southern cuisines are claiming the throne in many US cities. It seems our taste buds are on an adventure, seeking diverse and flavorful experiences beyond the classic pizzeria.

3. Are restaurants adapting to changing consumer habits?

Absolutely! A whopping 44% of customers are now buying non-food and beverage items from their favorite restaurants, a trend expected to rise to 54% in 2023. Restaurants are expanding their offerings beyond traditional fare, from packaged products to branded merchandise.

4. How are restaurant owners addressing the staffing challenges in 2023?

Navigating a staffing tightrope, restaurants are grappling with 1.7 to 3.7 fewer hourly employees than in 2019. Retention efforts are in full swing, with 55% of owners prioritizing employee retention, recognizing the costly consequences of high turnover.

5. What’s the role of technology in the dining landscape this year?

Tech is the unsung hero! A whopping 57% of restaurant operators credit new technology adopted since 2020 as critical to their business survival. From cloud POS systems to AI exploration, tech is enhancing efficiency and reshaping the dining experience.