Upserve 2019 state of the restaurant industry

In the restaurant industry we move quickly, think on our feet, and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our guests. That’s why – as business owners, restaurant managers, and operations directors – you need to stay on top of the latest industry trends or risk getting left behind and losing customers to your competition.

Upserve’s data science team analyzed menu, staffing, and table turn trends from our over 10,000 customers, looking at millions of transactions across the U.S. from January 2018 through June 2019. The results include new and surprising findings on popular foods, labor issues, tipping, table turn times, and more.

Our goal is for restaurateurs to use this report as a data-backed resource to help you make decisions and thrive in the ever-evolving restaurant landscape. 

Download the 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report now for the full story.

Menu Trends Report

Restaurateurs are always trying to stay ahead of changing consumer tastes. But the secret sauce is knowing what’s overhyped and what’s about to be hot.

We collected and analyzed sales data between January 2018 and July 2019 from over 10,000 restaurants nationwide, measured the sales performance of each item, and ranked each item based on its overall and trending popularity. We also analyzed how our national menu trends compared to the menus of our James Beard award-winning customers. 

Some key menu trends and takeaways we found include:

  • If you’re not including substantial and delicious vegan options, you could be missing out on a lot of business.
  • Guests are getting more and more into trying unconventional seafood – the weirder, the better.
  • The rise of the mocktail: how the sober-curious movement is changing cocktail menus as we know them.

Staff Turnover Trends by Region

While some things never change (we all know to prepare for the end-of-summer turnover when college students return to school!) our team did find some interesting changes in staff turnover trends from last year.

  • Turnover is lowest in states with higher minimum wages – don’t live in one of those states? We have some tips on how to leverage their success.
  • The north and midwest have some of the highest rates of staff turnover. How can you combat it?
  • Front of house staff is more likely to churn – we break down the reasons why, and how you can get them to stay.

Table Turn Times and Their Impact on Revenue

Everyone knows that more tables sat equals more money earned, but how do you turn tables faster without making guests feel rushed? Our report has insights backed up by hard data to help you formulate a game plan with your staff.

  • The ideal table turn time across the country is the same: 50-60 minutes
  • Every table turn won’t be ideal, but there are ways to nudge them out sooner before the cost of camping really hits your bottom line.
  • Your servers will benefit from shorter turn times as well: their tip averages level out around the same 50-60 minute mark.

For the full story on menu trends, staff turnover, and table turn optimization, download our free 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report.

The restaurant industry is fast: we move quickly, think on our feet, and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our guests. Stay up to date with the latest trends on menu items, staff turnover, and more in our latest report.

Download Now
Written by   |  
Stephanie is a Providence, RI native and eight-year food industry veteran. As Upserve's Content Marketing Coordinator she creates materials that help restaurateurs, managers, and service professionals succeed. When she's not writing, Stephanie is most likely traveling, cooking, or trying new restaurants.