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60+ Restaurant Industry Statistics for Restaurant Owners in 2019

Posted by Allie Tetreault and AJ Beltis on 10/19/18 3:30 PM in Restaurant Management

13 minute read Print

restaurant industry statistics

What makes the restaurant industry so interesting?

It’s always changing.

In recent years,  we've witnessed the birth of cashless restaurants, seen the adoption of guest-facing kiosks to facilitate ordering, welcomed the introduction of 'ghost kitchens', and even noshed on a meal or two prepared by robots

As we inch closer 2019 and the endless possibilities she brings for our industry, it's time to begin preparing your restaurant's operating plan for the new year, including: 

To get you in a productive, planning mindset, we've compiled a list of 60+ restaurant statistics from reports, studies, and articles across the internet that cover the state of the industry and point toward areas of opportunity for hungry owners and operators looking to stand-out in 2019. 

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 2027. (Source)
  5. The United States' Mountain Region saw the biggest increase in sales last year with a 5.3% growth. (Source)
  6. West North Central U.S. will saw the lowest growth – but will still grew by 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
  7. In 2017, restaurant sales were 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 rose 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)
  5. Away-from-home food purchases is on the rise, with the consumer price index up 2.5% from April 2017. (Source)

Restaurant Employment Statistics 

restaurant job statistics

  1. The nation's unemployment rate, as of May 2018, sits at an 18-year low of 3.8%(Source)
  2. For the past ten years, between 1.7 and 1.8 million Bachelor's degrees are awarded annually, limiting the amount of people who are willing to work in low-paying restaurant jobs. (Source)
  3. 59% of restaurant operators name staffing as a top challenge to success, 42% say the same of high operating and food costs, and 33% say attracting and retaining customers is a top challenge. (Source)
  4. 63% of QSR managers name staffing a challenge to success – more than in any other concept. (Source)
  5. 47% of restaurant operators admitted they have scheduled employees for fewer hours each week in the past twelve months. (Source)
  6. 18% of restaurant operators have had to halt hiring efforts to lower labor costs. (Source)

staff retention

  1. Roughly three in 10 restaurateurs have job openings they find difficult to fill, signaling a significant hiring crisis in restaurants. (Source)
  2. 28% of restaurateurs do not offer an employee handbook to new hires, 43% do not offer a training manual, and 52% offer no safety training.(Source)
  3. The average tenure of a restaurant employee is one months and 26 days, with managers lasting an average of four months and four days and hosts lasting only an average of one month and nine days(Source)
  4. The average restaurant employee shift length is 6.4 hours. Chefs have the longest average shift length of 7.72 hours. (Source)

Restaurant Management Statistics

restaurant management statistics

  1. The Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) sits at 101.3 as of April 2018. 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 2018 was social media and is utilized by 63% 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 YouTube (10% of restaurants). (Source)
  6. 88% of restaurants pay for marketing. (Source)
  7. A restaurant is more likely to not pay for advertising than it is to advertise on television in 2018. (Source)

Restaurant Sales Statistics 

  1. 89% of restaurateurs are optimistic for their sales in 2018. (Source)
  2. Annual food and beverage purchases at full service restaurants totaled a projected $263 billion in 2017(Source)
  3. QSR and fast-casual restaurant sales were projected to reach $233.7 billion in 2017. (Source)
  4. QSR sales saw a nominal growth of 5.3% in 2017. (Source)
  5. FSR sales saw a nominal growth of 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
  6. Snack and alcoholic beverage bars saw a nominal growth of 6% in sales in 2017. (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 features 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. Restaurateurs say credit card processing, accounting, and inventory are the most important integrations to their restaurant POS(Source)
  6. 61% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their guest experience. (Source)
  7. 32% of diners of restaurateurs believe they are lagging in their technology use. (Source)
  8. In 2017, adults were 30% more likely to use restaurant technology than they were two years before that. (Source)

Restaurant Payment Statistics

restaurant payment statistics

  1. When a restaurant kiosk has been available, 65% of guests used the 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 or 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 receipts. (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 food 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 Success in 2018 Industry Report.
Download your copy!

Last updated 06/06/18. 
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toast restaurant management blog

Written by: Allie Tetreault and AJ Beltis

Allie and AJ have spent years building the Toast Restaurant Management Blog. Dedicated to making the restaurant world a better place, Allie and AJ have written ebooks, created industry resources, 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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