Restaurant Industry Growth Remains Steady
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Restaurant Industry Growth Remains Steady

Restaurant Industry Growth Remains Steady

The restaurant industry continues to grow and its operators remain optimistic, says new data from the National Restaurant Association. A healthy labor market and continued consumer spending led to significant year-over-year improvement of sales at restaurants in February.

“The restaurant industry’s growth remains on track, driven by resilient consumers and a healthy labor market,” said Bruce Grindy, chief economist for the National Restaurant Association. “While the path forward won’t be without challenges, we expect the industry to continue on a positive trajectory in the months ahead.”

January and February’s total eating and drinking place sales were more than 19% above the same two months of 2022.

Six in 10 operators expect that sales will be higher in six months. Operators have also experienced some financial relief in recent months, as the cost of certain food commodities continues to trend downward. But average wholesale food prices remain well above their pre-pandemic levels. 

Menu prices rose 8.4% during the last 12 months, with the Midwest and West regions registering the highest gains in recent months. This growth was still well below recent gains in grocery store prices, which increased 10.2%.

Here are some other results from the February data:

  • Same-store sales higher: 73% of restaurant operators reported an increase in same-store sales in February 2023, compared to February 2022. 
  • Customer traffic mixed: 51% of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic in February. 
  • Employment recovery uneven: Restaurant employment remains below pre-pandemic levels in 28 states.
Published: April 19th, 2023

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