24 hot and delicious facts about the U.S. restaurant industry, Part 2

In part one of this blog, we brought you the first 12 of our 24 hot and delicious facts about the U.S. restaurant industry. Here are the remaining 12 facts. Bon appétit!


  1. Incredibly, about 50 percent of all adults got their first job experience in a restaurant or have worked in the industry at some point during their lives.


  1. Seven in ten of those who do currently work in the restaurant industry say they will keep working in that sector of the economy until they retire – they’re restaurant “lifers!”


  1. A common narrative among successful restaurateurs is that they worked their way up through the ranks. It’s accurate, with eight in ten restaurant owners starting their careers in entry-level positions like dishwashers, busboys, and servers, and working their way up the ladder.


  1. If you work in the industry, then you’re probably well aware that most restaurants make the largest portion of their profits on beverages. In fact, the gross margin for food is around 60 percent, but restaurants charge $2.50 or more for a soda that costs them pennies.


  1. The markup on alcohol and wine is just as high, typically 200-600 percent or more. In fact, many restaurants list one or two very expensive bottles of wine on their menus not because they think someone will order them, but just to make the mid-range bottles appear more affordable!  


  1. At most restaurants, the food items that yield the highest profit margins are usually pastas and pizzas, both costing the restaurant only $1.50-$2.50 to produce, but charging their customers $10-$15.  


  1. The Mid-America Club in downtown Chicago is the tallest restaurant in the United States and the tenth highest in the world, standing at 1,075 feet off the ground and offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city below.


  1. The Union Oyster House in Boston is America’s oldest restaurant, opening its doors in 1826. Union Street itself was first laid out in 1636, and the building that the Oyster House occupies goes back to the 1700s. In fact, a future French king, Louise Philippe I, once lived on the second floor above the Oyster House!


  1. The most expensive restaurant in the U.S. is the Japanese restaurant, Masa, located in Times Square in New York City. Each entrée will cost you about $350 (before tax and tip), and the wine and liquor menu ranges from $400 to $2,000! And if you have a last minute change of plans and cancel your reservation, they’ll charge you a $200 convenience fee!  
  2. The average American spends $2,505 eating out every year, or about $49 every week.
  3. On a typical day, the restaurant industry can reach $2.09 billion in sales. But that’s just an average, because, of course, weekends bring in far more revenue for restaurants. Likewise, the highest grossing day for bars and restaurants is Valentines Day ($8 billion in yearly revenue), followed by Mothers Day.


  1.  Among all restaurant operators, 36 percent report that staffing is their biggest challenge to success, with 47 percent of bar managers saying the same. The next highest challenges are retaining customers (20 percent) and high food or operating costs (15 percent).

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