10 min read

Restaurant Business Statistics: The Complete List

Here are 125+ statistics to help improve your restaurant's growth and profits, plan for the future and run a more efficient operation.
Restaurant Business Statistics: The Complete List

In this post, I’m going to share 125+ restaurant statistics every owner, manager and operator should know. These statistics will help you stay informed about the current state of the industry, assess your position within it, and help paint a picture for areas of opportunity.

Let’s get right to it.

Restaurant Industry Statistics

1. There are over 15,000,000 restaurants in the world.

2. That means there is one restaurant for every 526 people on the planet.

3. There are over 1,000,000 restaurants in the United States.

4. Over 250 million U.S. consumers ordered food from a restaurant in 2021.

5. In normal times, annual sales in the U.S. restaurant industry were projected to top $900 billion in 2022, or around 4.2% of gross domestic product.

6. It is estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a $240 billion decline in restaurant industry sales in 2021.

7. As of January 2021, there was a 66% year-on-year decline in consumers dining in restaurants in the U.S. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. The global online food delivery market is expected to grow from $115 billion in 2020 to $126 billion in 2021.

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Consumer Statistics

1. Food is the third biggest spend for American households with American consumers spending 33% of their income on housing, 16% on transportation, and 13% on food.

2. In 1955, the restaurant industry comprised 25% of the family food dollar. In 2019, that number rose to 51%.

3. In 2021, restaurants are capturing only 45% of the share in food spending from consumers. Compared to 51% during pre-pandemic levels.

4. In normal times, 20% of diners go out to eat once a week, with 45% of diners going out to eat multiple times a week.

5. 13% of consumers consider themselves loyal to their favorite restaurants.

6. Return customers tend to spend 67% more on average.

7. Dinner is a more frequent order, 74% of millennials said that they ordered takeout or delivery for dinner during the previous week while 60% of millennials ordered lunch for takeout or delivery during the same period.

The fact that returning customers spend 67% more highlights the importance of focusing on customer loyalty. Energy and resources put into effectively encouraging repeat customers is a high value activity.

Customer Behavior 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.

2. 8 in 10 consumers said that restaurants give them access to their favorite flavors that they can’t duplicate at home.

3. In choosing a restaurant to visit, 72% of diners ranked high quality food as the top factor. 48% said value was the number one factor.

4. 86% of Millennials will try a new restaurant after seeing food-related content online.

5. 50% of consumers say that they are more likely to cook meals from scratch since the pandemic began.

6. If offered, 41% of consumers would buy a make-at-home meal kit from their favorite restaurant.

7. 8% of Americans subscribe to at least one online subscription box for meal kits.

Consumer Preference Statistics

1. 48% of millennials say that cost is their top priority when it comes to food.

2. 67% of millennials say that they are more likely to choose a restaurant if they offer a delivery option.

3. 54% of customers say that online reservation is the most important technology feature.

4. 41% of customers say that free Wi-Fi is the most important technology feature.

5. 65% of restaurant customers prefer to control how much they tip.

6. 32% of consumers said that their eating habits have become healthier over the past year.

7. 61% of diners say they are more likely to eat healthy at a restaurant than they were two years ago.

8. 51% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers environmentally-friendly food items.

9. 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.

10. 79% of millennials state that they enjoy experimenting with products from different cultures or countries.

11. Vegan menu items are on the rise as millennials and Gen Z become more health and environmentally conscious.

12. 53% of millennials are more likely to pick a restaurant if they offer alcoholic beverages with their to-go order.

13. Mocktails and alcohol-free spirits are gaining popularity.

14. Orders of fermented foods have risen by 149%, according to one analysis of customer menus.

Restaurant Menu Statistics

1. Only 31% of restaurants update their menu on a monthly basis.

2. 24% of restaurants update their menu seasonally.

3. To reduce food waste, 28% of restaurants repurpose food trimmings, 26% offer varied portion sizes, and 25% compost.

4. 55% of diners say they’d order breakfast items at any time if they were offered.

5. Food trends for 2022 include local sourcing, zero-waste cooking, fresh produce, healthy kids meals, and global flavors.

Restaurant Marketing Statistics

1. At 49%, the majority of customers discover restaurants through recommendations from family and friends.

2. 35% of customers discover restaurants through online reviews and the restaurant’s website.

3. After discovering a restaurant, 95% of customers research it online before dining, the highest percentage of any industry.

4. 51% of customers view a restaurant's website before choosing to dine there.

5. 92% of consumers read restaurant reviews.

6. 77% of consumers prefer peer reviews versus critic reviews.

7. 33% of consumers would never eat at a restaurant with less than four stars.

8. 35% of diners said they are influenced by online reviews when choosing a restaurant.

9. Improving customer reviews by half a point can boost restaurant revenues by 5% to 9%.

10. 53% of restaurants plan to invest in being a community event or charity sponsor.

One stat that really stood out was that improving customer reviews by half a point can boost restaurant revenues by 5% to 9%. This is a great reason to spend time optimizing a restaurant's online presence.

Social Media Statistics

1. Over 70% of restaurants plan to pay for social media ads.

2. Over 50% of all worldwide online traffic is generated through mobile phones.

3. For social media, restaurants are most likely to use Facebook (91% of restaurants) and Instagram (78%). Instagram’s popularity has increased since last year, when only 24% reported using it.

4. Restaurants are least likely to use YouTube for promotions (only 14% of restaurants report using it).

5. 10% of restaurant customers said that a restaurant’s social media or email marketing tactics influence them to return to a restaurant.

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Customer Feedback Statistics

1. When dealing with negative reviews, 23% of restaurant owners or managers reach out directly to the person who gave the feedback.

2. 15% of restaurant owners or managers use customer feedback when giving performance reviews to front-of-house or back-of-house staff.

3. 2% of restaurant owners or managers don’t take action when receiving negative customer feedback.

4. 50% of consumers expect a response on social media within 30 minutes. However, only 50% of restaurants meet this expectation.

Ordering and Payment Statistics

1. 92% of all top-performing restaurants offered mobile ordering and loyalty rewards programs, or a combination of both.

2. 54% of millennials say a self-ordering kiosk improves the customer experience.

3. Using digital menu boards can increase yearly store sales by $16,000.

4. 58% of consumers in the U.S. prefer to pay without cash.

5. When paying for a low-ticket item (e.g. coffee), 62% of customers opt to use their credit or debit card.

6. When paying for a high-ticket item (e.g. fancy dinner), 88% of customers pay with their credit or debit card.

7. 48% of consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. were open to using a QR code as a mode of payment in bars and restaurants.

8. 15% of global consumers say that they would like to be able to pay with their smartphone when paying for food and drinks in restaurants.

9. 49% of restaurant operators think that a mobile payment option is a must-have technology for diners.

10. 34% of diners said that the availability of contactless or mobile payment options are important technologies during and after COVID-19.

Online and touchless ordering and delivery saw massive spikes in 2020-21. Restaurants that invest in the necessary hardware and software to support online order and delivery, touchless menus, and other safety measures will have advantages over their competition.

Food Delivery Statistics

1. 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week.

2. Digital ordering and delivery has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.

3. 63% of consumers agree that it is more convenient to get delivery than dining out with a family.

4. In 2019, 51% of diners ordered directly from a restaurant’s website, 38% used an online ordering aggregate site, while 29% used an app.

5. 60% of restaurant operators say that offering delivery has generated incremental sales.

6. Digital channel sales (including delivery apps) are on pace to reach 30% of total sales for US restaurants by 2025.

7. Delivery sales could rise an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion in 2019.

8. 35% of U.S. consumers said that having low fees is a factor in their choice of which food delivery platform to use.

9. 70% of consumers say they’d rather order directly from a restaurant, preferring that their money goes straight to the restaurant and not a third party.

10. 45% of consumers say that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often.

11. 34% of consumers spend at least $50 per order when ordering food online.

12. 20% of consumers say they spend more on off-premise orders compared to a regular dine-in experience.

13. When receiving an online order, customers ranked speed as the most important, followed by value, and then the quality of the food.

Restaurant Operating Statistics

1. 52% of restaurant owners and managers named high operating and food costs as a top challenge.

2. 51% of restaurant owners and managers name staffing as a top challenge to success.

3. 35% of restaurant owners and managers say training staff is a top challenge.

4. 47% of restaurant operators admit to scheduling employees for fewer hours each week in the past twelve months, due to wage increases.

5. 65% of restaurants have increased menu prices in the last 12-months, due to wage increases.

6. Turnover in the restaurant industry is at an all time high.

7. It can cost $2,000 to hire and train a new staff member.

8. It can cost up to $15,000 to hire and train a new manager.

9. 68% of restaurant professionals review sales reports on a regular basis.

10. 45% of restaurant professionals regularly review labor reports.

11. 32% of restaurant professionals regularly review menu reports.

12. 17% of restaurant professionals admitted that they don’t check sales, labor and menu reports on a regular basis.

13. If they had extra money on hand, 47% of restaurateurs would repair or update their equipment.

It’s striking that employee turnover is at an all time high, especially when the cost of replacing employees is $2K for staff and $15K for a manager. Top owners and managers will spend time hiring and training the right employees, and putting in place the structure to keep them.

Restaurant Technology Statistics

1. Over 80% of restaurants report higher use of technology like online ordering, reservation and inventory apps and restaurant analytics.

2. 41% of restaurants use, or will soon use, handheld server tablets.

3. 68% of customers agree that the use of server handheld tablets improves the restaurant experience.

4. 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their customer experience.

5. The most important technology features for customers are online reservations and free Wi-Fi.

6. Integrating Point-of-Sale (POS) and reservations management systems can boost online reviews by 1/4 of a star and create 2% more return customers.

7. After POS technology and payment processing, the most popular back-office technologies utilized were accounting software (52%, up from 31% in 2018) and payroll software (50%, up from 28% in 2018).

8. To seek out customer 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.

9. 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency.

10. The top features restaurateurs are looking for in a restaurant POS upgrade are ease of use, depth of reporting, and inventory reporting.

11. Restaurateurs say credit card processing, accounting, and inventory are the most important integrations to their restaurant POS.

12. On average, restaurants use three technology vendors for their managing back-office operations.

Technology and the data it provides have been massive enablers for the top performing restaurants. Having the right systems in place, with the right integrations is a true game changer.

Employment Statistics

1. There are approximately 175 million restaurant industry employees in the world.

2. There are 15.1 million restaurant industry employees in the United States.

3. In the U.S, approx 1.6 million new restaurant jobs will be created by 2028.

4. The restaurant workforce makes up 10% of the overall U.S. workforce.

5. 9 in 10 restaurants have fewer than 50 employees.

6. Restaurants employ more women and minority managers than any other industry.

7. 90% of restaurant managers started in entry-level positions.

8. 80% of restaurant owners started their industry careers in entry-level positions.

9. 30% of Americans have their first job experience in restaurants

10. 60% of American adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives.

11. Restaurant employees rate their overall workplace happiness as an 8/10.

12. Over 60% of workers felt that a promotion would markedly increase their workplace happiness.

13. 67% of restaurant employees would like to receive paid bonuses as recognition from management.

14. 70% of restaurant employees reported that they would like hands-on training from managers.

15. 40% of restaurant employees report a lack of team-building events and activities, and nearly a quarter are actively unhappy with how few team-building activities they have.

Training Statistics

1. 68% of restaurants offer an employee handbook to new hires.

2. 32% of restaurants provide sexual harassment training to their staff.

3. 53% of restaurants offer food safety and alcohol certification training.

4. 46% of restaurants offer a mentor program.

Top Takeaways

Why are so many people attracted to starting businesses and working in the restaurant industry?

It’s social, an interesting challenge, and always changing.

That’s why owners and managers must always be on the lookout for trends and developments in the food industry. Both as a source of threats and for upcoming opportunities. I believe industry statistics are a good place to start looking, and hope they are valuable to you.

I hope you’ve found something to put into action today!

Before you go...

We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.

The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.

I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.

Join my email list for free and I’ll send them to you right now.

Note: The statistics presented here are U.S. centric but will provide an indication on the conditions in most other markets. I haven’t provided sources for each statistic as the links often expire. You can copy and paste the text into a Google search to find the source for each statistic.