Restaurant sales are forecast to exceed $1.1 trillion this year, marking a new milestone for the industry that will employ over 15.7 million people in the United States by the end of 2024.
The National Restaurant Association released its 2024 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report Tuesday. The report finds restaurant operators are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, with nearly eight in ten predicting their sales will increase or hold steady from 2023 levels. However, challenges still exist for the sector. Consumers will notice menu changes more frequently, and it’s often the result of increased food costs. In the past year, operators report needing to find new suppliers, removing items from their menus, adjusting portion sizes or substituting lower cost items all in response to elevated food prices.
The availability of food items also impacted menu composition, with more than three-quarters of operators saying their restaurant experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2023.