2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report

Feb 08, 2024

To navigate the exciting developments and emerging trends in the foodservice industry, we focus on the highly anticipated “2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report” from the esteemed National Restaurant Association. This comprehensive report promises to unveil the latest insights, challenges, and innovations shaping the dynamic world of restaurants in the year ahead. Join us as we delve into the culinary world, exploring the evolving tastes, preferences, and strategies that will define the foodservice landscape in 2024.


Growth Will Continue

In 2024, the foodservice industry is poised for unprecedented growth, with projected sales soaring to a record-breaking $1.1 trillion, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). This optimistic forecast is backed by insights from the NRA’s annual “State of the Restaurant Industry” report, which draws from surveys of operators and consumers, and analyses from NRA economists. The restaurant and foodservice industry is on track for substantial growth, expected to add 200,000 jobs, reaching a total employment of 15.7 million people.


Operators demonstrate remarkable resilience despite rising food costs, labor expenses, and lingering pandemic-induced debts. While 45% of operators anticipate consistent sales compared to 2023 figures, 33% expect an increase. However, concerns about profitability persist, with only a quarter of operators predicting higher profits. Staffing shortages remain a significant issue, with over 40% reporting inadequate employees to meet demand, prompting a greater reliance on technology for labor solutions.

Operators increasingly turn to technology to address challenges such as labor reduction, cost-cutting, and business enhancement, integrating tech solutions across various operations. However, consumers still value human hospitality in their dining experiences despite the reliance on technology.


Key findings from the “2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report” highlight the following:


  • Intensifying competition, as noted by 45% of operators.
  • Rising costs, with labor and food costs being significant concerns for operators.
  • Consumer cautiousness regarding spending, with an emphasis on value propositions.
  • Strong consumer affinity for restaurants, driven by the enjoyment of unique flavor experiences.
  • Off-premises dining remains a crucial trend for operators, with over half of consumers, especially 67% of millennials and 63% of Gen Z, considering ordering takeout from restaurants an essential aspect of their lifestyle.

The report, compiled by the National Restaurant Association, serves as the authoritative source for industry projections and trends. It analyzes economic conditions, operational dynamics, workforce trends, and culinary preferences to provide insights into sales forecasts and market trends for the year ahead. Despite ongoing challenges, the industry remains dynamic and resilient, poised for continued innovation to meet evolving consumer demands.