30+ Gourmet Restaurant Industry Statistics for 2022

ByG. Dautovic
January 10, 2022

Most people enjoy going out for a meal with friends and family. However, the frequency with which they do so, the amount of money they spend, and their overall preferences are constantly changing. For its part, the restaurant industry is continually working to respond to this changing landscape.

This page takes a closer look at the most recent restaurant industry statistics, providing you with valuable data that you can use to plan and accelerate the growth of your own business. 

Restaurant Industry Statistics - Editor’s Choice

  • Digital ordering and delivery grew 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.
  • 94% of diners say online reviews significantly influence their dining selections.
  • 66% of American adults are comfortable with going out to eat at a sit-down restaurant.
  • Offering a variety of payment options can increase an order size by 14%.
  • 62% of diners prefer restaurants with locally-sourced ingredients. 
  • 80% of consumers visit restaurants to experience flavors they cannot make at home.
  • The pandemic left 2.5 million restaurant workers unemployed.

Restaurant Industry Facts

There’s more to the state of the restaurant industry than mere sales figures. Knowing what factors to pay attention to can give you that much-needed edge over the competition. Of course, competition in the restaurant industry is famously fierce, which is why we’ve compiled a few key facts to help you get the whole picture.

94% of diners look at online reviews, and the majority find them helpful when picking a restaurant.

(TripAdvisor)

Reviews make all the difference. The vast majority of diners say they look at online reviews before deciding where they’re going to eat. This is one reason why online marketing in the restaurant industry is increasingly focused on improving or maintaining customer ratings. 

The addition of a half-star in rating can have a significant revenue impact. 

(PYMNTS.com)

Online reviews influence the number of guests an establishment receives and how much they spend. A PYMNTS.com study found that improving a restaurant’s rating by half a star resulted in a revenue increase between 5% and 9%. 

Online ordering and delivery grew 300% faster than dine-in traffic in recent years.

(QSR Magazine)

In order to overcome obstacles hindering restaurant industry growth, brands are increasingly focused on digital ordering tools. That’s because digital delivery services have seen the most significant growth rates since 2014. And although this trend emerged before the coronavirus pandemic, there’s little doubt that restrictions on in-person dining accelerated things. 

There are more than 45 million smartphone food delivery app users.

(eMarketer)

The food delivery app system is expected to see significant growth in the coming years. In 2022, it’s projected to grow by more than 12%, with 49.5 million food delivery app users in the United States alone. By 2023 that number is expected to rise to 53.9 million.  

72% of diners put taste above everything else.

(Toast)

Consumers value the quality of food above everything else. While other factors are important, 72% of diners say they pick restaurants based on the taste and flavor of the food.

For 48% of millennials, the top priority is value.

(SWSN)

While many people focus on the quality of the food, others are more interested in the value of the meal. A survey involving 2,000 millennials reveals that the top priority is the cost for nearly half the respondents. 46% said the most crucial factor is having a meal full of nutrients, and 40% wanted a meal with no artificial additives.  

66% of American adults are comfortable going out to eat at a sit-down restaurant.

(Morning Consult)

Restaurant industry market statistics show that sit-down diners in the US were some of the hardest-hit businesses during the pandemic. But with things gradually returning to normal, more than half the surveyed adults in the US say they are comfortable going out to eat. These improvements in the comfort level are expected to increase restaurant traffic.

Sales can increase by up to 14% if the restaurant offers a range of payment options.

(LunchBox)

Consumers like to have options when it comes to paying for their food. Studies show that offering a variety of payment options can lead to bigger bills. Usage of technology in the restaurant industry is being fuelled by modern solutions like POS systems and the variety of payment options. For instance, accepting payments from wearables, self-service kiosks, and apps can help drive revenue.

32% of people are eating healthier than they did before 2020.

(International Food Information Council)

The coronavirus pandemic prompted a lot of people to spend more time thinking about their health and how to improve it. And this has influenced what we eat and may influence what restaurants serve. 32% of people said their eating habits are healthier than they were before 2020. Another study found that 30% of millennials buy healthier foods than before the pandemic. 

56% of diners have consumer privacy concerns. 

(Technomic)

Restaurants are increasingly asking for more data from their customers, which they can use to improve their services and ultimately provide a better experience. However, more than half the consumers are worried about how restaurants are using this information and how their data is being stored.

The pandemic left 2.5 million restaurant workers unemployed.

(The National Restaurant Association)

One of the gloomier restaurant statistics throws the spotlight on the impact of the pandemic on employment. In early 2021, there were approximately 2.5 million out-of-work restaurant employees. 

90% of diners conduct online research before choosing a restaurant.  

(Upserve)

The majority of diners research a restaurant before they visit. 90% of consumers say they look up the restaurant's reviews, menu, and contact information before deciding whether to dine there. This trend is more prevalent in the restaurant sector than in any other industry. 

Restaurant operators report an uptick in sales with an RPI of 104.8.

(National Restaurant Association)

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index or RPI helps track the overall health of the industry in the US. In short, it provides a valuable restaurant industry overview.

The RPI rose by 0.2% between October and November of last year, and there is growing optimism among restaurant operators about the existing business conditions. Recent data shows that restaurants in all parts of the country and across all class points saw greater traffic and sales than in 2020. 

80% of consumers want inventive dishes when they visit a restaurant.

(National Restaurant Association)

People dine out for different reasons. Some are marking an occasion, and others are looking to avoid the inconvenience of preparing a meal at home. Another motivating factor for dining out is the desire to experience flavors that people cannot replicate at home. Eight out of ten people say that interesting, inventive, and complex dishes are the main reason they visit a restaurant. 

62% of consumers want locally-sourced dishes.

(National Restaurant Association)

People are increasingly focused on both the food they’re eating and where it’s coming from. A study conducted by the National Restaurant Association found that 62% of diners would choose a restaurant with locally-sourced ingredients over one that uses ingredients from other places. 

The two primary reasons for this preference are that locally-sourced ingredients are better for the environment and that their consumption helps support local producers and farmers. 

More than 70% of consumers are likely to order food from a restaurant that engages people on social media. 

(MGH)

Social media platforms can be instrumental in helping restaurants promote their business. A recent study found that 74% of people were more likely to visit an establishment if they followed and engaged with that business on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 

Another study found that some 70% of people would be more likely to recommend a business to a friend if the restaurant responded quickly to their inquiries on social media. 

The restaurant industry’s operating profits are projected to rise by 15%.

(Moody’s)

The restaurant industry has been going through a tough time since March 2020. However, things are beginning to look up. An analysis by financial services company Moody’s found that profits are expected to rise by around 15% as consumers gradually return to dining out. 

18. Food safety and cleanliness is the top concern among 48% of the guests dining out during the Covid era.

(Toast)

Even with restrictions being eased, restaurants must take safety seriously. Nearly half the diners said they are increasingly concerned about cleanliness and food safety. Meanwhile, 52% are worried about the cleanliness of tables, and another 45% are concerned about staff safety. 

App bonuses lead to an increase in sales.

(PYMNTS.com)

An analysis of the best-performing restaurants found that they offer a loyalty bonus, an advance-ordering system, or a combination of the two. Both of these features helped increase sales and enhance customer loyalty. 

33% of diners will avoid a restaurant that has a rating below four stars on review sites like Tripadvisor.

(ReviewTrackers.com)

These figures further underscore the power of online reviews in making or breaking a restaurant. People picking a restaurant pay close attention to review sites such as Google and Yelp. In fact, a one-star increase in a restaurant’s rating on Yelp can drive up revenue by 9%. 

52% of restaurants say rising costs pose the biggest challenge.

(Toast)

There’s no shortage of challenges facing restaurant owners and operators. But according to 52% of restaurant professionals, the number one challenge to overcome is the increasingly high operating and food costs.

(NetWaiter)

Restaurant industry trends are constantly changing. According to surveyed chefs, the latest trend worth paying attention to is CBD-infused food and drinks. 75% of the chefs agree that CBD drinks are the biggest trend.

34% of consumers spend up to $50 when ordering food online.

(Statista)

Most consumers don’t go above $50 when ordering food online. They’re more likely to reach that amount if there’s a promotion that offers free delivery for high-value orders. Meanwhile, only 14% of the orders go up to $100 and just 6% order up to $300. 

The number of adult grocery app users is forecast to hit 30.4 million in the US.  

(Statista)

In 2022, the number of Americans using apps to order food and other groceries is expected to rise from 27.9 million to 30.4 million. That’s a significant increase from 2019, when the number of adult grocery app users in the US stood at 22.6 million.  

68% of consumers order food deliveries.

(Deloitte)

The coronavirus pandemic led to a huge surge in food delivery and pickup orders, even among consumers who had previously never ordered food online. 68% of respondents to a survey conducted by Deloitte said they ordered food deliveries online at least once a month. 52% said they ordered takeout food at least once a month. 

60% of guests will return to a restaurant after one good experience.

(Deloitte)

Restaurant industry stats show that a positive first experience can be rewarding for the operator. 60% of the people who took part in a recent study said they would eat at an establishment more frequently following a positive experience, while 39% said they would spend more money on subsequent visits. 

10% of guests shared their dining experience on social media.

(Deloitte)

People who have a negative experience at a restaurant are likely to tell others about it. Some want to tell everyone they know by sharing details of their experience on social media platforms. That means 10% of the restaurant’s daily online traffic can either praise or bash the establishment. 

79% of guests will return to a restaurant if a problem is resolved.

(Deloitte)

Resolving service failures is sure to bring back customers. Nearly 80% of respondents who experienced an issue that was resolved said they would return to the establishment in the future. 

Millennials are more likely to visit restaurants that have good social ethics.

(Insider)

Millennials are more likely to respond to creative social media marketing than other demographics. They’re also more likely to frequent a restaurant that shows progressive values (such as paying staff a livable wage), even if it means paying more money for their meal.

Millennials also link their choice of restaurant to their identity. Nearly a quarter say that the restaurant where they dine reflects their personality and values. 

60% of consumers want promotions and discounts.

(National Restaurant Association)

Consumers who place an order online are more likely to visit that restaurant in person. More than 60% of diners say that promotions, discounts, and other forms of loyalty rewards are important. Nearly 45% of millennials say they would pay to be in a restaurant’s loyalty program if it offered advantages such as line-jumping and discounts.

Further Reading:

FAQ

What percentage of the economy is the restaurant industry?

+

The restaurant industry accounts for around 4% of GDP in the US. According to restaurant economy statistics, before the pandemic, the industry generated $863 billion.

How large is the restaurant industry in 2021?

+

Restaurant industry revenue is estimated to be around $789 billion in 2021. This is an increase of nearly 20% from 2020.

Is the restaurant industry growing in 2021?

+

The restaurant industry is showing signs of recovery, with restaurant sales up nearly 20% compared to 2020.

Is the restaurant industry in decline?

+

The restaurant industry hasn’t returned to its pre-Covid days in terms of earnings. However, the hope is that it will gradually recover over time.

Sources

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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