60 Restaurant Industry Statistics and Trends for the UK (2024)

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What makes the restaurant industry so interesting?

It’s always changing. 

In recent years, we've witnessed a huge spike in online ordering, a new focus on reducing food waste, the adoption of server handhelds, the implementation of robots in restaurants, and a host of food trends that have surged across social media.

2024 is here, and it's already been a whirlwind. If things have gotten a little messy in your restaurant office – it happens! – take a moment to reassess and make sure you're still on course. We've got a few resources to help you with that with these restaurant management statistics for the UK.

What are the trends in the restaurant industry?

Getting a handle on the restaurant industry trends in the UK can help paint a picture of how restaurant owners should plan and prepare for budget, staffing and training, and technology. For example, in 2024, online ordering and delivery is still seeing massive spikes. Restaurateurs with knowledge of trends and statistics know that purchasing the necessary hardware and software to support online orders and delivery and touchless menus will succeed over their competition. 

We've compiled a list of 60 restaurant statistics in the UK from reports, studies, and articles across the internet that cover the state of the restaurant industry and point toward areas of opportunity for hungry owners and operators looking to stand out for the rest of 2024 and beyond.

Restaurant Economy Statistics

These statistics outline trends in restaurants from a bigger-picture perspective, including restaurant sales, dining trends, how much consumers spend on food, and more.

  1. 78% of UK consumers find dining out too expensive to do regularly. (Source)
  2. 40% of restaurateurs in the UK feel "very likely" to expand their business this year. (Source)
  3. 77% of restaurateurs in the UK believe they will still be open in 12 months despite an increase in closures. (Source)
  4.  In 2024, the market size of the takeaway and fast-food restaurant industry in the UK is £22.4 billion. (Source)
  5. Businesses in the restaurant sector in the UK have implemented price increases due to inflationary pressures, with dynamic pricing expected to become more common. (Source
  6. Some restaurants that moved to suburban locations reported strong performance, such as 19.3% like-for-like sales growth during the Christmas season. (Source
  7. The IMF forecasts UK GDP to grow by 0.5% in 2024 and by 1.5% in 2025. (Source)    
  8. Greggs is the largest chain in the UK, with 2,269 locations. (Source)
  9. There are 90k licensed food and drink premises in Great Britain in the UK. (Source

Restaurant Employment Statistics

These trends explore restaurant employees, hiring trends for restaurant staff, restaurant employee retention statistics, and more to help your restaurant stay competitive.

  1. There are 468k people employed in the restaurant industry in the UK as of 2024. (Source)
  2. 51% of restaurant operators name staffing as a top challenge to success, and 35% say training staff is a top challenge. (Toast)
  3. Turnover in the restaurant industry is at an all time high, at 75%. (Toast)
  4. Restaurants employ more women and minority managers than any other industry. (Source)
  5. It can cost $2000 to hire and train a new staff member. (Toast)
  6. It can cost up to $15000 for a new manager – so it’s no wonder restaurant operators are so concerned about turnover. (Toast)
  7. 68% of restaurants offer an employee handbook to new hires. (Toast)
  8. 32% of restaurants provide sexual harassment training to their staff. (Toast)
  9. 46% of restaurants offer a mentor program. (Toast)
  10. 53% of restaurants offer food safety and alcohol certification training. (Toast)

Restaurant Promotion Statistics

These restaurant industry statistics can help guide your social media and promotion strategy and attract new customers. Learn how your fellow restaurant owners are using marketing and social media to grow their business.

  1. 67% of restaurants plan to pay for social media ads. (Toast)
  2. 53% plan to invest in being a community event or charity sponsor. (Toast)
  3. When it comes to social media, restaurants are most likely to use Facebook (91% of restaurants) and Instagram (78%). (Toast)
  4. Restaurants are least likely to use YouTube for promotions (only 14% of restaurants report using it). (Toast)
  5. When dealing with negative online reviews or in-person feedback, 23% of restaurateurs reach out directly to the person who gave the feedback. 15% put the feedback to use when giving performance reviews to front-of-house or back-of-house staff. Some restaurant professionals — 2% — admitted to never taking action when receiving negative guest feedback. (Toast)

Restaurant Sales Statistics

These statistics will show trends in restaurant sales, how restaurant owners evaluate their sales reports, and overall profit trends in the restaurant industry.

  1. 78% of UK restaurant operators expect their restaurant sales to grow year over year. (Source)
  2. 77% of operators reported a decrease in guests in the past two years. (Source)
  3. 68% of restaurant professionals review sales reports on a regular basis. (Toast) 
  4. 45% regularly review labor reports. (Toast)
  5. 32% regularly review menu reports. (Toast)
  6. 17% admitted that they don’t check any of these regularly. (Toast)

Restaurant Consumer Statistics

Restaurant industry trends in the UK have seen consumers change their habits. Here’s how people are spending money at restaurants and consumer trends in the restaurant industry.

  1. 39% of consumers in the UK have chosen brands with more environmentally sustainable values in the past 12 months. (Source)
  2. 70% of consumers in the UK want restaurants to operate more sustainably. (Source)
  3. When placing an online order, a patron is more likely to use a restaurant's website than a third-party site. (Toast)
  4. When receiving an online order, guests ranked speed as the most important, followed by value, and then the quality of the food. (Toast)
  5. 35% of diners said they are influenced by online reviews when choosing a restaurant. (Toast)
  6. 78% of millennials 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
  7. 52% of consumers in the UK have higher expectations today for hospitality brands due to economic conditions. (Source)

Restaurant Payment Statistics

Restaurant payment methods have changed more in the past year than they ever have. Here are the trends reported by restaurants and restaurant goers surrounding restaurant payment methods and technology.

  1. 54% of millennials say a self-ordering kiosk improves the guest experience. (Toast)
  2. When paying for a low-ticket item (e.g. coffee), 62% of guests opt to use their credit or debit card. (Toast)
  3. When paying for a high-ticket item (e.g. fancy dinner), 88% of guests pay with their card. (Toast)
  4. 10% of restaurant sales are allocated to payment processing fees. (Source)
  5. Only 31% of restaurants offer mobile pay. (Toast)
  6. 50% of people still want printed receipts, but 36% are happy with digital receipts – and 14% don’t want a receipt at all. (Toast)

Restaurant Food Statistics

Restaurant food statistics include ideas for how much variety your menu should have, what diners are looking for, and trends in food items and menus.

  1. 31% of restaurateurs update their menu on a monthly basis. (Toast)
  2. 24% of restaurants update their menu seasonally. (Toast)
  3. To reduce food waste, 28% of restaurants repurpose food trimmings, 26% offer varied portion sizes, and 25% compost. (Toast)
  4.  Rising health consciousness has driven the rapid introduction of healthy menu items, including vegetarian and vegan options. (Source)
  5. Celebrating the blend of various culinary traditions, third-culture cuisine in the UK has seen consumers reevaluating and embracing globally influenced flavours and ingredients like MSG. (Source)

Restaurant Technology Statistics

Restaurant technology trends include statistics on POS software, payment processing, guest interaction tools and feedback tools, and what restaurant owners are looking for in technology products.

  1. 77% of UK restaurants use handheld devices for either orders or payments, but not both. (Source)
  2. Budget allocations for restaurants in the UK are typically 10% for technology, 15% for labor, and 10% for occupancy costs. (Source)
  3. 71% of restauranteurs in the UK plan to increase their tech investments to enhance customer service. (Source)
  4. 25% of UK operators aim to utilize technology more effectively in their business operations. (Source)
  5. After POS technology and payment processing, the most popular back-office technologies were accounting software (52%, up from 31% in 2018) and payroll software (50%, up from 28% in 2018). (Toast)
  6. To seek out guest feedback, 29% of restaurateurs use manual comment cards, another 31% ask for feedback on their printed receipts, and 25% use a rating scale in digital receipts. (Toast) 
  7. The most important technology features for guests are online reservations and free wifi. (Toast)
  8. 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience. (Toast)
  9. 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency. (Toast)
  10. The top features restaurateurs are looking for in a restaurant POS upgrade are ease of use, depth of reporting, and inventory reporting. (Toast)
  11. Restaurateurs say credit card processing, accounting, and inventory are the most important integrations to their restaurant POS. (Toast)
  12. 61% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their guest experience. (Toast)

Many of the above statistics came from our Voice of the UK Restaurant Industry report. 

Access the full report to learn more about restaurant consumer behaviour and restaurant management statistics in the UK.

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