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If you own or manage a business in foodservice, it’s important to understand the trends and changes shaping the industry. Understanding restaurant industry trends can shed light on struggles and successes, all while helping you make strategic decisions that keep your business running strong.

Here’s a roundup of illuminating restaurant statistics you should know.

Sales and Expansion

  • There are over 1 million restaurant locations in the United States. (source)
  • In the table service restaurant segment, food and beverage sales are expected to climb to $263 billion in 2017 – a 3.5 percent increase from 2016. (source)
  • Restaurant sales are expected to exceed $800 billion this year, rising 4.3 percent higher than the estimated sales from last year. (source)
  • The Pacific Region (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) is projected to achieve the highest sales of any region, garnering $109,772,781 in 2017. (source)
  • The East South Central Region (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee) will see the lowest sales at $32,663,931. (source)
  • Bars and restaurants comprise 12 percent of total retail sales. (source)

Job Growth

  • There are currently 14.7 million restaurant industry employees. (source)
  • By 2027, 1.6 million additional restaurant jobs will exist. (source)
  • Restaurant employees represent 10 percent of the overall U.S. workforce. (source)
  • 9 in 10 restaurant managers began in the industry at an entry-level job. (source)
  • 8 in 10 restaurant owners began in the industry at an entry-level job. (source)

Bars and Restaurants comprise 11.97% of total retail sales.

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Digital Trends

  • Facebook is the most-used social networking site, used by 74 percent of restaurants. (source)
  • Instagram is the second most used site, with 18 percent of restaurants using it as a marketing tool. (source)
  • 28 percent of restaurants said that they intended to start using YouTube as a marketing tool in 2017. (source)
  • Posting mouth-watering pictures on Instagram can go a long way as the brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text (source)
  • 49 percent of people use Facebook when searching for restaurants (source)

Digital Tools

  • 41 percent of restaurants use, or will soon use, handheld server tablets. (source)
  • 68 percent of customers agree that the use of server tablets improve the restaurant experience. (source)
  • 19 percent of restaurants use or will soon use tabletop tablets. (source)
  • 52 percent of customers agree that the use of tabletop tablets will improve the restaurant experience. (source)
  • 13 percent of restaurants use or will soon use self-ordering kiosks. (source)
  • 65 percent of diners say that they sometimes use kiosks when they are available. (source)


  • 1 in 5 restaurants donate their edible leftovers to charities (source)
  • 8 in 10 restaurants use energy efficient lighting (source)
  • 65 percent of restaurants recycle fats, oils, and grease (source)
  • 72 percent of restaurateurs say they buy at least some packaging or supplies that contain recycled materials (source)
  • 47 percent of restaurants claim that they track food waste in their restaurant (source)
  • 14 percent of restaurants say they compost some of their food waste (source)

Restaurant Failure Rate

  • Only 17 percent of restaurants fail within their first year of business (source)
  • The average lifespan of restaurants that started with 20 or less employees is 3 months shorter than other start-up businesses of the same size (source)
  • Whereas restaurants with 21 or more employees tend to exist 9 months longer than other similarly sized start-ups (source)
  • The average lifetime for a restaurant is 4.5 years (source)
  • 21 percent of small start-ups survive past 15 years (source)

Cuisine Trends

  • 66 percent of diners eat a wider variety of cuisines now compared to 5 years ago (source)
  • 75 percent of consumers say they like when a mainstream menu offer ethnic cuisine (source)
  • 80 percent of consumers eat at least one different ethnic cuisine a month (source)
  • 85 percent of diners prefer to eat ethnic cuisine in a restaurant focused on that cuisine (source)
  • 56 percent of consumers customize ethnic cuisine dishes to their taste (source)

Online Reviews

  • 85 percent of diners trust online reviews as much as personal reviews (source)
  • When a restaurant’s Yelp rating increases by just half a star, it’s equal to a 19 percent reduction in available reservations. (source)
  • Consumers read and consider reviews from restaurants more often than any other industry. (source)
  • Online reviews tend to impact 67.7 percent of purchasing decisions (source)
  • Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business (source)
  • Individuals on average view less than 2 percent of search results below the top 5 on the first page (source)

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As a professional copywriter, Dan typically spends his days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other. Dan has written for Entrepreneur Magazine,, and other media publications.