24 hot and delicious facts about the U.S. restaurant industry, Part 1

  1. As of 2017, there were more than one million restaurants in the U.S. – or 1 for every 325 members of our population!


  1. The U.S. restaurant industry brought in about $766 billion in food and drink sales last year. That’s a modest but steady 1.7 percent increase from the year prior.


  1. The restaurant industry is responsible for providing a significant number of jobs. In fact, 14.7 million people receive a paycheck from a restaurant, bar, or similar establishment, which is about 10 percent of the working population! At least 2.56 million of them are servers or waitstaff.


  1. Economic analysts expect an increase in the number of people employed in the U.S. restaurant industry, to 15.72 million by 2025.


  1. Of the more than half-million restaurants and eateries in the U.S, about 37 percent, or 232,611, are chains or fast food establishments, known as QSRs, Quick Service Restaurants. Together, they bring in about $191 billion in revenue and pay out $47 billion to employees every year.


  1. But full-service restaurants still bring in the lion’s share of revenue in the industry, pulling in about $254 billion in sales every year.


  1. The restaurant industry is so omniscient that it holds significant sway over lawmakers, with 304 food and beverage lobbyists last year, together spending more than $17 million to push their agenda.


  1. But that’s still far less than the whopping $57 million spent in 2009 by the restaurant industry on lobbyists. Coca-Cola and Pepsi made the most profound donations that year, with more than $7.5 million in campaign and political contributions between them.


  1. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest and most influential umbrella organization for food and beverage servers in the U.S., founded in 1919 and now representing more than 380,000 restaurants.


  1. You often hear that 90 percent of restaurants go out of business their first year – but that’s actually not true at all. That misinformation was originally floated in an American Express commercial and became somewhat of an urban myth.


  1. The reality is that about 46 percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year – which is only slightly higher than the attrition rate for all first-year business failings.


  1. A recent survey asked restaurant employees if they were proud of their role within the restaurant industry. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with 54 percent of those surveyed reporting that they were proud to work in the restaurant industry, and only three percent saying that they weren’t happy with their jobs.



Looking for more hot and delicious facts about the U.S. restaurant industry? Look for part 2 of this blog, with facts 13-24!

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