Industry news

60 in-venue restaurant statistics and trends for 2021

Melanie O'Hanlon
Marketing Associate

You heard it here first: guests are returning to in-venue dining experiences. So, how is the industry landscape looking these days? We’ve done the research.

From overarching industry trends, to how guests are ordering, to the importance of reviews, here are some of the top in-venue restaurant statistics and trends to be aware of so you can stay on your game in 2021.

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Restaurant Industry Trend Statistics

Size of the restaurant industry:

  1. Restaurants looked at a number of different ways to retain traffic and generate revenues. Operators focused on building off-premises business, especially in the full-service segment, with roughly half of restaurateurs devoting more resources to expanding that side of their business since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in March. (Source)
  2. The market size of the bar and nightclub sector in the United States reached 22.33 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, reflecting a 27% decline over the previous year's size of 30.43 billion U.S dollars. The sector was forecast to increase by roughly 16% in 2021. (Source)
  3. Restaurant industry sales were $659 billion in 2020, down $240 billion from expected levels. (Source)
  4. Restaurants are operating with no capacity limits in place in 37 states. (Source)
  5. Restaurants are open with various restrictions in place in 13 states. (Source)
  6. 6,000 new restaurants opened across the country in April alone. (Source)
  7. 18,000 restaurants reopened in April. (Source)
  8. 110,000 restaurant locations are temporarily or permanently closed. (Source)

How restaurants are operated:

  1. 7 in 10 restaurants are single-unit operations. (Source)
  2. 8 in 10 restaurant owners started their industry careers in entry-level positions. (Source)
  3. 9 in 10 restaurant managers started in entry-level positions. (Source)

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Restaurant Guest Trend Statistics

Where guests are dining:

  1. 52% say they plan to dine out at a restaurant with table service once a week or more in 2021 - up 24% from October. (Source)
  1. 32% more diners consider eating indoors low to somewhat low risk compared to July 2020. (Source)
  2. 42% of diners say they order takeout from a restaurant for dinner once a week or more, and they continue to feel takeout is low risk. (Source)
  3. As of early June, 70% of all adults said they feel comfortable going to a restaurant, a record high for the activity. (Source)
  4. 73% of U.S. adults said they currently feel safe sitting down for a meal outside, compared to 65% who said so about indoor dining. (Source)
  5. 47% of baby boomers and 53% of millennials said they’re eager to get back to restaurants. (Source)
  6. The percentage of seated diners compared to 2019 rose from 75% on March 1st to 87% on April 29th, 2021. (Source)
  7. Restaurant reservations, including diners who placed themselves on waiting lists, were up 46% in April compared with April 2019, and up 23,000% compared with April 2020, when most Americans began staying at home during the pandemic. (Source)

How guests are ordering:

  1. When using a restaurant’s app or website for delivery, consumers are looking for alerts for when the order has left the restaurant and when it’s near the delivery destination; the ability to track the entire progress of the order and the delivery driver; the ability to order ahead of time; and compatibility with mobile payments options and the ability to store payment information (Source)
  2. 39% of consumers said they order takeout at least once a week, while 36% said they dine in at a restaurant that often. (Source)

Safety precautions guests are looking for:

  1. Looking ahead to 2021, 43% of diners say a restaurant’s health and safety measures will be the most important factor, followed by good food when choosing a restaurant. (Source)
  2. Even when the pandemic ends, diners say they’ll still want restaurants to take safety measures, with the majority (79%) saying they’ll want increased sanitization. (Source)

How reviews impact the guest experience:

  1. More than 33% of diners will not choose to eat in a restaurant with less than a 4-star rating on online review sites like Yelp, Google, and Tripadvisor. (Source)
  2. A one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can result in as much as a 9% increase in revenue. (Source)
  3. A half-star rating improvement on Yelp makes it 30 to 49% more likely that a restaurant will sell out seats during its peak hours. (Source)
  4. 1 in 8 diners will post a restaurant review after their meal. (Source)
  5. 60% read reviews before going out for a meal, a habit that takes precedence over getting directions to a restaurant or looking at food photos. (Source)
  6. 60% say they have more appreciation for restaurants and their staff than they did prior to the pandemic. (Source)

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Restaurant Labor Statistics

Jobs in the restaurant industry:

  1. Restaurant & foodservice jobs in 2030 are projected to be at 17.2 million. (Source)
  2. Restaurant industry employees at the end of 2020 numbered 12.5 million, down 3.1 million from expected levels. (Source)
  3. 9 in 10 restaurants have fewer than 50 employees. (Source)
  4. Restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry. (Source)

Job market growth:

  1. There are nearly 2 million fewer 16-to-34-year-olds in the labor force, the most prominent age group employed in the restaurant industry workforce. (Source)
  2. By 2028, workers age 65 and older will outnumber teenage workers by 11 million. (Source)
  3. The restaurant industry has an average job churn of around 73%. (Source)
  4. The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell estimates that the cost of employee turnover averages around $5,864 per person for a typical front-line employee. (Source)
  5. Restaurants and bars added about 176,000 jobs in March. (Source)
  6. Anticipated U.S. average annual labor force growth comes in at 0.5%, 2018 to 2028. (Source)
  7. The National Restaurant Association is projecting job growth of 8.5% for the U.S. overall between 2018 and 2030, but some states — particularly in the southern and western regions — will see higher growth. (Source)

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Restaurant Technology Statistics

Technology usage in the restaurant industry:

  1. Across all 6 segments—quick service, fast-casual, casual, family, fine dining, and coffee & snack—some 40% of operators said they added tech solutions to their businesses. (Source)
  2. A lower 27% are reducing consumer payment friction by adding or updating customer-facing order and payment amenities. (Source)
  3. From a technology perspective, 50% are adding or updating the technology for their internal use (POS). (Source)
  4. QR code payments will see a growth of 240% between 2020 to 2025. (Source)

Ordering, paying, and delivering with technology:

  1. 35% of consumers agree that it is easier to customize their order on a restaurant’s own site or app. (Source)
  2. 91% of consumers placed orders via a restaurant’s app or website within the past year. (Source)
  3. 33% say that many of the restaurants they order from do not have their own ordering sites. (Source)
  4. When it comes to delivery investments, more than two-thirds of operators indicate having partnered with a third-party delivery service. (Source)
  5. 40% of operators reported having added or updated their internal technology, such as POS systems. (Source)
  6. 60% of guests used a third-party delivery service, such as DoorDash or Grubhub, for delivery orders. (Source)
  7. 35% of guests say that ordering on a third-party site/app is faster than the alternatives. (Source)
  8. When it comes to technology at the restaurant level, 29% of operators say they are lagging in the industry. (Source)

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Restaurant Marketing and Social Media Statistics

Marketing and sales in the industry:

  1. 41% of marketers believe that events are the single most effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing, and content marketing. This reflects a 32% increase since 2017. (Source)
  2. Restaurant industry sales are projected to be $1.2 trillion in 2030. (Source)

The importance of social media:

  1. When choosing a restaurant, Gen Z and Millennials are 99% more likely to rely on social media and online reviews than are Gen X and Boomers. (Source)
  2. Nearly 3 in 4 customers (72%) have used Facebook to make restaurant or retail decisions, based on comments and images that have been shared by other users. (Source)
  3. Over 50 million SMBs use Facebook Pages to connect with their customers. And 4 million of those (around 8%) pay for social media advertising on Facebook. (Source)
  4. Out of all brand mentions on Twitter, food and drink brands are mentioned the most with 32% share of tweets. (Source)
  5. The best time for a restaurant or bar to post on Instagram is when people are eating and looking at pictures on their phone: 9 AM, between noon and 1 PM, and 8 PM. (Source)

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