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93 Restaurant Industry Statistics Every Food Service Operator Needs to Know in 2024

93+ Restaurant Industry Stats 2024 apicbase

2023 has been a challenging year for restaurant operators, caught as they were between rising food costs and labour shortages. 

To give you the full picture of the positives and negatives of what lies ahead for 2024, we combed through dozens of recent industry reports and compiled a list of 93 restaurant industry statistics. 

At first glance, some stats might seem to contradict each other. Often, this is because the people surveyed vary in age and location. Remember, statistics can both confirm our existing beliefs and challenge them. So, we invite you to not just take these numbers at face value but to really dig into the details for a fuller picture. 

We have divided the list into 14 sections, the first one being a bonus: 

These food service statistics will help you keep ahead of industry trends and guide your decision-making in 2024.

Let’s dig in.

Restaurant Industry Stats 2024 – Our Top 10

Top 10 Restaurant Industry Stats 2024
10 restaurant industry stats for 2024 to keep in mind.
  1. In a 2023 survey, 29% of operators said they are very likely to open new locations in 2024. In the previous year, it was 17%. 
  2. Food costs increased in 2023: according to one survey, 60% of operators reported that all or most suppliers raised their prices, up from 50% in 2022.
  3. Most operators raised their menu prices in 2023, but fewer expect to do so in 2024.
  4. Although revenue went up (thanks to higher prices), profits went down due to high food costs and debt. 
  5. Restaurant sales in the US grew from $842.3 million in 2021, to $974.9 million in 2022, to $1,087 million in 2023.
  6. It is estimated that the US food service sector wasted 13 million tons of food in 2022, up from 9.15 million tons in 2020 and 12 million tons in 2021.
  7. 54% of restaurants plan to spend more on technology in 2024.
  8. 71% of restaurant customers prefer to order food delivery directly from the restaurant rather than using third-party apps.
  9. 85% of operators use POS data to engage with customers via text or email, while 60% use it for their loyalty programs.
  10. Labour shortages are still a serious issue but are improving: in 2023, 82% of US restaurateurs reported being short-staffed, down from 97% in 2022.
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Restaurant Industry Growth Statistics

Restaurant Industry Growth Statistics
The restaurant industry is growing but not accross all segments.

Despite the global economic downturn, the foodservice industry is expected to grow in the coming years. 

However, growth will be slower than before and not evenly distributed across all segments. 

  • The global foodservice market size reached $2,989.5 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow by 3.3% by 2032, reaching $4,046.1 billion. (IMARC Group, 2023)
  • A more optimistic forecast estimates a market size of $5,423.59 billion by 2030. (Fortune Business Insights, 2023)
  • The global market size of the delivery app industry is expected to reach $165 billion by 2029. (Business of Apps, 2024) 
  • The virtual kitchen market was valued at $34.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $80.9 billion by 2030. (Market Research Future, 2024)
  • In 2023 there were 140.185 single-location full-service restaurants in the US, which marks a slight 0.3% decline from 2022. On the other hand, fast food restaurants are on the rise, with 0.8% more establishments (200,859 in total) in 2023 compared to 2022. (IBISWorld, 2023)
  • In a 2023 survey, 29% of operators said they are very likely to open new locations in 2024. In the previous year, it was 17%. (Toast, 2023)
  • In 2022, food-away-from-home spending in the US increased by 15% (from $1.16 trillion to $1.34 trillion), while food-at-home spending grew by 10%. (USDA, 2023) 
  • The global market for QR code payments is expected to grow by 16.5% between 2023 and 2032. (The Brainy Insights, 2023) 

Restaurant Cost Statistics

Restaurant Cost Statistics
The biggest challenge in 2023 was high food prices. The outlook for 2024 is positive.
  • In one survey, 60% of respondents reported that all or most of their suppliers raised prices in 2023. In 2022, the percentage was 50%. The average increase in food costs was 41% across the board. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • Staffing costs were higher than expected, too. At the end of 2022, 75% of respondents said they expected higher labour costs in 2023. A year later, 89% said they actually experienced higher labour costs. (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • While most operators predict costs will keep rising in 2024, they believe the increase will be in the 1-5% range. (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • Compared to pre-pandemic levels, the price of livestock, chickens, and unprocessed feedstuffs has risen by up to 40%. (McKinsey, 2023)
  • In 2022, wholesale food prices went up by 14.7%. That’s the highest increase since 1974. In 2023, they decreased by 0.3%. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • The decrease in 2023, however, was not even across all commodities. For example, beef and pasta prices went up by 13% and 9% respectively, while pork and egg prices decreased by 8% and 28% respectively. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)

Menu Engineering & Pricing Statistics

Menu Engineering & Pricing Statistics
Prices cannot go up indefinitely. The second option was to cut menu items.

Available data suggests that more operators raised their prices in 2023 than in 2022, although percentages vary between reports.

This trend is likely to slow down in 2024, partly thanks to a slowdown in inflation, but also because restaurant operators can only raise prices up to a point.

In fact, there are signs that, while diners are not willing to give up eating out, they are increasingly sensitive to cheaper alternatives.

  • In the US, most operators (67%) increased their menu prices in 2023. The average increase was 13%, slightly less than the previous year. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • According to another report, the percentage of operators who raised menu prices is even higher: 82%. However, only 62% expect to do so in 2024. (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • Government data confirms that restaurant menu inflation is slowing down. In 2023, food-away-from-home prices increased by 7.1%, while in 2022, they had increased by 7.7%. For 2024, the forecast is 4.7%. (USDA, 2023)
  • In the UK, eating and drinking spending grew by 6.8%. However, it was bars, pubs and takeaways that benefited from this growth at the expense of restaurants, suggesting that diners are looking for cheaper dining options. (Restaurant UK, 2024)
  • A 2023 study found that 37% of dine-in guests and 40% of takeout guests would order more often from restaurants if they found less expensive options alongside promotions and discounts. This trend is expected to continue to grow in 2024. (Deloitte, The Future of Restaurants, 2023) 
  • 53% of restaurants report they cut menu items because of higher food costs. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)

Restaurant Procurement & Inventory Statistics

Restaurant Procurement & Inventory Statistics
Restaurateurs looked for more affordable suppliers or replaced ingredients with cheaper alternatives.

On top of this, many struggled with ingredient shortages and supply chain disruptions.

  • Finding new, less expensive suppliers was the number one tactic for reducing costs, used by 41% of operators in 2023, up from 40% in 2022. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • 33% of respondents in another survey reported substituting lower-cost ingredients to contain food costs, up from 30% in 2022. (Toast, 2023)
  • 58% of operators said that rising inventory costs was their number one source of financial strain in 2023. (Touchbistro, 2024) 
  • Cost is not the only inventory challenge: For 24% of operators, the biggest problems in 2023 were ingredient shortages and supply chain disruptions. That’s 4% more than the previous year. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • Another factor, perhaps less alarming, but constantly present regardless of macroeconomic challenges, is employee theft, which accounts for 4% of annual revenue loss in the restaurant industry. (Gitnux, 2024)
  • 35% and 34% of baby boomers and Gen Xers respectively are interested in locally sourced food. Millennials and Gen Zers follow closely with similar percentages. (Square, 2024)
  • To respond to this growing demand, 39% of operators plan to use more environmentally sustainable sourcing and operations in 2024. (Square, 2024) 

Restaurant Sales Statistics & Revenue Forecasts

Restaurant Sales Statistics & Revenue Forecasts
Restaurant sales grew in 2023, also thanks to the increase in menu prices. 

However, in the tug-of-war between higher revenues and higher costs, the latter had a stronger pull, causing profits to decline.

  • Restaurant sales in the US grew from $842.3 million in 2021, to $974.9 million in 2022, to $1,087 million in 2023. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • Improving profitability is the top 2024 goal for 1 in 3 restaurants. (Toast, 2023) 
  • Similarly, sales in the UK restaurant market were expected to grow by 5.2% in 2023. However, there is still a 2.6% gap when compared with pre-pandemic levels. (Lumina Intelligence UK Restaurant Market Report, 2023)
  • While operators charge more, the rise of food costs is having the upper hand: in 2023, profit margins went down from 10.6% to 9.3%. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • According to the same report, debt is another profit-eroding factor, which seems to affect full-service restaurants in particular (68%). (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • In a 2023 survey, 69% of respondents reported that the rate of their off-premises dining options was at the same level or even higher than 2019. (Deloitte, 2023)
  • In the UK, inflation in 2023 was about 7.4%, while average earnings growth for restaurants was 6%. (Restaurant UK, 2024)
  • 90% of restaurants, across regions and service types, plan to open new revenue streams in 2024. (Square, 2024)
  • After recruiting and retaining staff, increasing sales volume is the second most expected challenge in 2024 (23.75% of respondents). (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • In 2024, restaurant industry sales in the US are expected to reach $1.1 trillion, in line with or slightly higher than 2023 values. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)

Restaurant Delivery Statistics

Restaurant Delivery Statistics
Off-premises dining remains a crucial revenue stream for many restaurants.

The massive growth of online food delivery was the most important development in the last few years. 

While the global recession has significantly slowed down its growth, off-premises dining remains a crucial source of income for restaurants.

  • The volume of food delivery sales reached its peak in 2021 with $19 billion, and then it started to decrease in 2022 due to the global economic downturn and the full reopening of restaurants after the pandemic. (Statista, 2023)
  • Delivery sales at Britain’s top-managed restaurant groups rose by 4% in November 2023, with deliveries in November accounting for 61% of restaurant groups’ orders — up from 52% just 12 months prior. In contrast, takeaway sales fell 6% during the same period. (Restaurant UK, 2024)
  • The excitement of diners for ghost kitchens seems to have stalled. In 2023, 52% said they would order from a ghost kitchen, while 24% felt indifferent on the subject, which was consistent with 2021 findings. (Deloitte, 2023)
  • Between February 2020 and December 2023, the share of on-site traffic decreased by 13% (from 39% to 26%), while the share of off-premise traffic increased by an equal amount (from 61% to 74%). Drive-thru accounted for 11% of the increase, delivery for 5%, while takeaway decreased by 3%. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)

Restaurant Food Waste Statistics

Restaurant Food Waste Statistics
Apart from environmental concerns, food waste puts enormous pressure on restaurant margins.

After a significant decrease in 2020, the rate of food waste started to grow again. 

In other words, the more people eat out, the more food is wasted. 

  • It is estimated that the foodservice sector in the US wasted 13 million tons of food in 2022, up from 9.15 million tons in 2020 and 12 million in 2021. (ReFed, 2023)
  • Almost 90% of food waste is either sent to a landfill or incinerated. The generated CO2 is equivalent to the average yearly emissions of 14 million cars and the waste of more than 8 million Olympic swimming pools of water. (ReFed, 2023)
  • Restaurants, grocery stores, and food service companies combined account for 40% of food waste in the US. (RTS, 2024)
  • For Europe, 2023 data estimates that the foodservice industry alone generates 9% of food waste. (Eurostat, 2023)
  • Investments in advanced solutions to fight climate change have increased in the past few years. However, the finance gap—the difference between what is invested and what should be invested— is estimated between $2.5 trillion and $4.8 trillion. (TechCrunch, 2022)
  • Within this gap, the part related to food waste technology—despite an increase of 30% between 2020 and 2021— is estimated to be $14 billion per year. (ReFed, 2022)

Restaurant Technology Statistics

Restaurant Technology Statistics
IT budgets gave doubled since the pandemic.

Operators are getting used to the idea that restaurant technology goes beyond delivery apps and POS, and that new tools help increase profits. 

In 2024, we’ll see more task automation and better use of business intelligence to improve the guest experience.

  • Restaurant IT budgets have doubled since the pandemic, now accounting for 7%-10% of revenue. (Bank of America, 2023)
  • 54% of restaurants plan to spend more on technology in 2024. (Square, 2024)
  • In another study, 46% of respondents said that business intelligence will be the top technology investment in 2024. (Restaurant365, 2024) 
  • For 46% of operators, reservation technology will be one of the priorities for 2024, up 10% since the year before. (Toast, 2023)
  • POS systems remain central to restaurants. 84% of operators plan to add new features to their current installation. The two most sought-after functionalities are self-service options and data to understand guest preferences, with 85% and 83%, respectively. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • 76% of operators say technology gives them a competitive edge. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • 40% of restaurant owners with more than three locations have seen increased profits due to investing in automation. (Square, 2024)
  • 21% of restaurants incorporated more technology into their restaurant because of higher costs. (National Restaurant Association, 2023)
  • 89% of restaurants say they are currently using AI-based tools in the back of house. The automation of other administrative tasks is also trending high: 70% report that they have automated payroll, 65% bookkeeping, and 65% inventory management. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • 83% of restaurants accept mobile wallets as payment methods in addition to cash and cards. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • On the tech side, managing multiple service channels will be one of the main pain points for 24% of operators. (Toast, 2023)

Restaurant Customer Preferences Statistics

Restaurant Customer Preferences Statistics
Only 13% of respondents prefer ordering through third-party apps.

When we talk about restaurant technology, the focus is often on operators: what solutions they’re investing in, and where they’re missing. 

But what tech solutions do restaurant customers actually want and feel comfortable with? 

Here’s what we found out. 

  • QR code payments are growing in popularity, but 72% of adults prefer using contactless or mobile payment options. (National Restaurant Association, 2023)
  • When ordering food, 71% of restaurant customers prefer to do it directly from the restaurant versus third-party delivery apps. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • Another study found consistent results: 40% of customers prefer to use the restaurant’s website, while only 13% prefer third-party apps or websites. (Deloitte, 2023)
  • According to yet another study, 55% of delivery customers would prefer to order directly from the restaurant. (National Restaurant Association, 2023)
  • How diners order food depends a lot on their age. Ordering by phone is preferred by older customers: 47% of boomers and 38% of Gen X, and only by 22% of millennials and 24% of Gen Z. The opposite is true for ordering via apps, which is the favourite channel for 27% of millennials and Gen Z, compared to 11% of Gen X and 4% of boomers. (Touchbistro 2023)
  • Telephone is also the preferred way to address complaints for 55% of diners. However, customer preference for digital tools like chats and texts increased from 20% in 2021 to 27% in 2023, while phone bias declined. (Deloitte, 2023)
  • The rise of digital channels is confirmed by another report: 42% of customers prefer digital channels to make reservations, 8% more than the previous year. (Square, 2024)
  • In a 2023 customer survey, when asked about the technologies that most influence selecting one restaurant over another, three responses ranked first with 71%: reliable and secure Wi-Fi, ease of online reservations, and the ability to preview menus and nutritional information. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • Consumers are getting more comfortable with the idea of having food delivered by drones or driverless cars, with 47% saying they would order from a restaurant that offered this type of delivery in 2023, versus 44% in 2021. (Deloitte, 2023)
  • When asked what mobile apps they used, 57% of respondents chose food delivery apps, while only 41% reported using restaurant-branded apps. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)

Restaurant Marketing Statistics

Restaurant Marketing Statistics
For restaurant businesses, a key goal is to understand and engage with their customers.

Operators are aware of a simple fact: to engage with customers, they need to give them what they want. To know what customers want, restaurateurs need access to data generated by the restaurant’s tech stack. 

  • 39% of restaurants plan to use business data to understand what customers want, while 38% want to use marketing programs to engage more with them. (Square, 2024)
  • 38.50% of operators plan to invest more in loyalty programs and marketing platforms. (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • Email is the preferred communication channel for 50% of diners. (TouchBistro, 2023)
  • 85% of operators use POS data to engage with customers via text or email, while 60% use it for their loyalty programs. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • 81% of consumers say they would participate in a loyalty program if a restaurant they visit regularly offers it. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • For 78% of guests, the benefits they would like to receive from a restaurant or hotel loyalty program are discounts. (Hospitality Tech, 2023) 
  • For 42% of restaurants, customer rewards programs are the best way to enhance customer loyalty. For 35%, it’s social media and websites. (Square, 2024)

Restaurant Social Media Statistics

Restaurant Social Media Statistics
90% of customers research a restaurant online before dining.

Although word of mouth may still be the most frequent way people hear about a restaurant for the first time, the next step is almost always to search for more information online. 

  • Word of mouth is still the most frequent way that customers discover restaurants: 54% versus 44% of social media. (Hospitality Tech, 2023)
  • 90% of customers research a restaurant online before dining. (Zipdo, 2024)
  • 57.2% of diners look at online reviews to find more information about restaurants, while 37% look at their social media page. (Pymnts, 2023) 
  • Social media is a great referral for a restaurant’s website: 32% of people will visit it directly after seeing its content on social media. 
  • Restaurants that use video content on social media see a 33% increase in engagement. (Gitnux, 2024)

Restaurant Franchising Statistics

Restaurant Franchising Statistics
The QSR segment is the largest and fastest-growing segment. 

The food franchise sector is thriving, accounting for 25% of all franchise businesses. 

  • About 33% of franchise establishments in the US are in the food segment, accounting for nearly 60% of the direct employment by franchises. (Franchise Direct, 2023)
  • 25% of food franchises are fast-food establishments. (Franchise Direct, 2023)
  • After a challenging 2022, QSRs will be the fastest-growing segment in the franchising sector, reaching almost 200,000 establishments in the US. (IFA, 2023)
  • The QSR segment alone accounts for 45.3% of employment in the franchise sector. (IFA, 2023) 
  • Overall, the foodservice franchise segment in the US (both QSR and full-service) has recovered and outgrown pre-pandemic levels, regarding the number of units and employees. (IFA, 2023)

Restaurant Labour Statistics

Restaurant Labour Statistics
50% of restaurant leaders plan to invest in front-of-house employee incentives.

However, employment grew during 2023, finally reaching the same levels as February 2020.

  • In 2023, 82% of US restaurateurs reported being short-staffed, down from 97% in 2022. (Touchbistro, 2024)
  • For 27% of operators, recruiting and retaining employees will be the most significant challenge in 2024. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • By the end of 2023, the foodservice sector in the US reached 15.5 m jobs, which is the same level it had right before the 2020 restrictions started. The number of jobs is expected to reach 16.9 m by 2032. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • However, job distribution is not equal across segments. While almost 250,000 jobs remain lost in operations with table service, QSR and fast casual have gained more than 100,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • 25% of operators say that using gig workers to deal with varying traffic patterns throughout the week will become more common in their segment in 2024. (National Restaurant Association, 2024)
  • 50% of restaurant leaders plan to invest in front-of-house employee incentives in 2024. (Restaurant365, 2024)
  • During 2022 and 2023, there was a growth of specific search terms on restaurant websites that clearly show a new awareness of the importance of staff wellbeing: “paid time off:” +386%; “paid vacation:” +175%; “health care:” +100%; “mental health:” +53%. (BentoBox, 2023)  


2023 has been an intense year for restaurant operators. On the cost/revenue side, data revealed three main trends: 

  • Most restaurants increased menu prices, but that move couldn’t completely offset the impact of rising food costs, causing profits to shrink. 
  • Consumers spent more on dining out occasions than in the two previous years but are also growing more price-conscious due to inflation. As a result, the fast-food and fast-casual segments have benefited more from this growth than full-service restaurants. 
  • Labour shortages continued, although many operators noticed an improvement compared to 2022. To hire and retain staff, restaurants had to offer higher wages and more benefits, which also contributed to the rise in operating costs.

But increasing menu prices was not (and could not be) the only response. Operators changed their business practices on many levels, by 

  • Investing more in technology (and plan to keep doing it in 2024).
  • Applying digital tools to automate tasks in the front and back of house.
  • Using data to create more engaging marketing campaigns and loyalty programs.
  • Changing suppliers, swapping ingredients, or even removing items from menus in order to reduce food costs.
  • Investing more resources in the well-being of employees.

Despite the above, the prevailing feeling is that the industry is not out of the woods yet. However, the worst may be over. 80% of operators (especially in fast-food and casual dining) say they feel more optimistic about the future of their business compared to one year ago (Square, 2024). 

Here are the 4 recommendations to thrive in 2024: 

4 Recommendations 2024
Automate, analyze, minimize waste and prioritise direct orders.
  • Automate more: from inventory to reservations, to payroll, there is hardly an area of your business that cannot be automated, at least at some level. 
  • Use data to find out what your customers really want or don’t want. This information will benefit the business on various levels: lower food costs, better marketing offers, and more engaging loyalty programs.
  • Track food waste in earnest and minimise wastage at all costs by better purchasing, stock management, and menu planning. 
  • Make your direct ordering channel more prominent. If given the choice, diners still prefer to order directly from their favourite restaurants. Implementing a digital ordering channel is necessary to improve efficiency, capture customer data, and improve loyalty programs.

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