Restaurant statistics shaping the industry


There has never been a better time to open a restaurant—seriously. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), revenue for the restaurant industry is estimated to reach $799 billion by the end of 2017, which is up 4.3% from 2016.

With over a million restaurant locations projected in the United States by the end of the year, employing nearly 15 million people, this is an industry that employs nearly 10% of the U.S. workforce. And, restaurant statistics aside, 2018 is going to be a big year in forward-thinking restaurant industry trends and technologies. If you think your restaurant’s technology situation is good now, wait until you see some of the restaurant tech advancements coming down the line…and they’re arriving sooner than you think!

Looking for findings on hot-button labor issues like employee turnover and tipping, as well as data-driven food trend predictions for 2018? You won't find them anywhere else but Upserve's State of the Industry.

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What can restaurateurs expect in 2018? These 15 restaurant statistics should give you a good idea. They’ll shape the industry in 2018 and beyond.

  1. Some good news: the 90% failure rate for new restaurants may be a myth. A 90% failure rate doesn’t align with the 3–4% growth rate the NRA assigns the industry.
  2. In 2017, the average restaurant owner reported an average income of $79,222.
  3. The NRA reports that in 1955, the restaurant industry comprised 25% of the food dollar. In 2017, that number rose to 48% and should only continue to climb.
  4. Over 80% of restaurants are turning to technology–like online ordering, reservation and inventory apps, and restaurant analytics–now more than ever to help them run their business successfully and efficiently.
  5. Tipping is here to stay: 65% of restaurant guests prefer to control how much they tip, as opposed to adopting auto-gratuities or the tip-free movement.
  6. Restaurant orders placed via a smartphone or app is now over 6% of the total orders made in restaurants.
  7. 8 in 10 restaurant owners started their industry careers in entry-level positions, according to the National Restaurant Association.
  8. 34% of diners say they usually pay up to $50 per order when ordering food online. The average spend per person in a full-service restaurant averages $16–30.
  9. 49% of restaurateurs value mobile payment options for their guests as a must-have restaurant technology.
  10. 32% of restaurants currently accept mobile payments.
  11. Mobile tech can also take restaurant employee scheduling to the next level. When restaurateurs publish weekly schedules directly to their employees’ devices, the scheduling process becomes simpler, communication becomes streamlined, and the margin for error drastically decreases.
  12. 37% of restaurant owners intend to focus on online ordering as their next technological advancement in the next 5 years, according to the NRA.
  13. 76% of restaurateurs are looking for labor management tools in their restaurant point of sale system.
  14. 3 in 10 restaurateurs cite staffing as a challenge, still, with a hiring crisis still a problem for the industry.
  15. 70% of restaurant guests are looking for healthy restaurant menu options.

The bottom line: Restaurant industry trends come and go, but restaurant statistics don’t lie. If you’re a restaurant owner, keeping these facts in mind can mean the difference between staying ahead of the curve and maintaining status quo.

Check out Upserve’s Restaurant State of the Industry report!

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In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.