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50+ Restaurant Industry Statistics for Restaurant Owners in 2018

Posted by Allie Tetreault and AJ Beltis on 10/30/17 5:00 PM in Restaurant Management

10 minute read Print

What makes the restaurant industry so interesting?

It’s always changing.

To kick off the release of the 2017 Restaurant Technology Industry Report – complete with insight from our most extensive research to date – we wanted to share out some of the must-know restaurant industry statistics owners and managers need to know in 2018.

See some of Toast's newest 2017 restaurant technology statistics in the video below!


Read on for restaurant statistics compiled from reports, studies, and articles across the internet, including our new report.

General Restaurant Statistics

restaurant industry statistics

  1. Annual sales in the restaurant industry are $799 billion. (Source)
  2. There are 14.7 million employees in the restaurant industry. (Source)
  3. There are more than 1 million restaurant locations in the U.S. (Source)
  4. There will be 16.3 million jobs in the restaurant industry by 2017. (Source)
  5. The United States' Mountain Region will see the biggest increase in sales this year with a 5.3% growth. (Source)
  6. West North Central U.S. will see the lowest growth – but will still grow by 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
  7. In 2017, restaurant sales will be the greatest in the state of Florida (6.2%) and the lowest in the state of North Dakota (2.4%). (Source)

Restaurant Economy Statistics

restaurant economy statistics

  1. In 1955, the restaurant industry comprised 25% of the family food dollar. In 2017, that number has risen to 48%. (Source)
  2. Gas prices have steadily declined post-hurricanes from $2.67 to $2.49, meaning more consumers may be more likely to drive out to dine. (Source)
  3. American consumers spend 33% of their income on housing, 15.8% on transportation, and 12.6% on food. (Source)
  4. Although wholesale food prices were on the rise this year, they will be lower in 2018 than in 2015. (Source)

Restaurant Employment Statistics 

restaurant job statistics

  1. 36% of restaurant operators name staffing as their biggest challenge to success, 20% say the biggest challenge is retaining customers, and 15% say it's high operating/food costs. (Source)
  2. 47% of bar managers name staffing as their biggest challenge to success. (Source)
  3. Roughly three in 10 restaurateurs have job openings they find difficult to fill, signaling a significant hiring crisis in restaurants. (Source)
  4. Hurricanes Irma and Harvey contributed to a loss of 105,000 foodservice jobs in September 2017. (Source)
  5. Prior to these natural disasters, the industry was adding 24,000 foodservice jobs per month on average in the 12 preceding months. (Source)

Restaurant Management Statistics

restaurant management statistics

  1. The Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to 100.4 in Sept. 2017. This is an indicator of a decline in same-store sales and customer traffic. Anything over 100 is considered a time of growth for restaurants. (Source)
  2. 78% of restaurateurs check their sales data & metrics daily - a 70% increase from 2015. (Source)
  3. Historically, community/event/charity sponsorship is the most common form of restaurant advertising, with 66% of restaurants saying they have used this method in the past. (Source)
  4. The most common platform for restaurant advertising in 2017 is social media and is utilized by 75% of restaurateurs. (Source)
  5. When it comes to social media, restaurants are most likely to use Facebook (92% of restaurants) and least likely to use Snapchat (16% of restaurants). (Source)

Restaurant Sales Statistics 

restaurant sales statistics

  1. Annual food and beverage purchases at full service restaurants are projected to be at $263 billion for the year. (Source)
  2. QSR and fast-casual restaurant sales are projected to reach $233.7 billion this year. (Source)
  3. QSR sales will see a nominal growth of 5.3% in 2017. (Source)
  4. FSR sales will see a nominal growth of 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
  5. Snack and alcoholic beverage bars will see a nominal growth of 6% in sales this year. (Source) 

Restaurant Consumer Statistics

restaurant consumer statistics

  1. Pent-up demand for restaurants remains high, with 39% of adults not eating on premises at restaurants as often as they would like. (Source)
  2. 61% of adults say they would rather spend money on an experience, such as a restaurant or other activity, compared to purchasing an item from a store. (Source
  3. Diners prioritize delicious food when choosing a restaurant to visit, followed by quality of service. (Source)
  4. 51% of diners go out to eat more than once a week. (Source)
  5. When placing an online order, a patron is more likely to use a restaurant's website than a third-party site like EAT24. (Source)

Restaurant Technology Statistics

restaurant technology statistics

  1. 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience. (Source)
  2. 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency. (Source)
  3. The most important technology feature for guests are online reservations, free wifi, and online ordering(Source)
  4. The top features restaurateurs are looking for in a restaurant POS upgrade are ease of use, depth of reporting, and inventory reporting. (Source)
  5. 61% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their guest experience. (Source)
  6. 32% of diners of restaurateurs believe they are lagging in their technology use. (Source)
  7. Today, adults are 30% more likely to use restaurant technology than they were two years ago. (Source)

Restaurant Payment Statistics

restaurant payment statistics

  1. When a restaurant kiosk has been available, 65% have used a kiosk, with 55% saying they use it “sometimes” and 10% saying they use it “every time.” 35% have opted out from using it. (Source)
  2. When paying for a low-ticket item (e.g. coffee), 62% of guests opt to use their credit/debit card.  (Source)
  3. When paying for a high-ticket item (e.g. fancy dinner), 90% of guests pay with their card. (Source)
  4. Millennials are most likely to use their card in any situation when paying for food. Even for low-ticket items, 69% of millennials will use their card. (Source)
  5. 58% of diners sometimes or always use mobile pay at a restaurant. (Source)
  6. Only 22% of restaurants offer mobile pay or payment through an app. (Source)
  7. Only 1 in 20 diners use mobile pay as their default payment method. (Source)
  8. 49% of millennials prefer digital restaurant receipts to printed paper ones. (Source)

Restaurant Food Statistics

restaurant food statistics

  1. 70% of diners say they are more likely to choose a restaurant that offers healthy menu options. (Source)
  2. 66% of American consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food items. (Source)
  3. 52% of adults are looking to expand their variety of ethnic cuisine. (Source)
  4. Future trends (predicted for the year 2020) will include local sourcing, fresh produce, healthy eating, and an emphasis on authentic items. (Source)
  5. The top three food trends at full service restaurants are new cuts of meat, street food-inspired dishes, and healthy kids' meals(Source)

Many of the above statistics came from our Restaurant Technology in 2017 Industry Report
Download your copy!

Last updated 10/30/17.

toast restaurant management blog

Written by: Allie Tetreault and AJ Beltis

Allie and AJ are two of Toast's Content Marketers. Dedicated to making the restaurant world a better place, Allie and AJ write ebooks, create industry resources, manage the Toast blog, and get a little too obsessive when it comes to SEO. You can make their day by subscribing to the Toast Restaurant Management Blog!

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