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Insight of the Day: Restaurants are having their biggest year ever

The U.S. restaurant industry is projected to reach $1.1 trillion in sales by the end of 2024, marking its biggest year ever despite financial pressures on restaurateurs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Record-Breaking Sales: The industry is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels significantly, driven by factors like technology adoption, social media marketing, and expanded delivery and catering options.

  • Labor Challenges: While competition for workers has eased slightly, restaurants still face challenges in attracting and retaining staff. Technology is helping to automate some tasks but cannot replace the need for human workers entirely.

  • Inflation Impact: Inflation is causing diners to seek out more affordable options, prompting restaurants to focus on providing value meals and loyalty programs.

  • Tipping Culture: Despite "tipping fatigue," the practice of tipping is expected to continue due to the preference of professional waitstaff for tipped wages.


  • Technological Innovation: Restaurants are increasingly investing in technology to streamline operations, improve customer experiences, and adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

  • Shifting Dining Habits: Consumer preferences are evolving, with a growing interest in new international flavors, TikTok food trends, and convenient takeout/delivery options.

  • Focus on Value: With inflation impacting consumer spending, restaurants are prioritizing value-driven offerings and loyalty programs to attract customers.


  • The restaurant industry is experiencing a resurgence, fueled by pent-up demand and evolving consumer preferences.

  • Technology plays a crucial role in addressing labor challenges and enhancing the overall dining experience.

  • Balancing high-tech solutions with personalized service is key to success in the increasingly competitive restaurant landscape.

Implications for Brands:

  • Embrace Technology: Invest in technology to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experiences.

  • Prioritize Value: Offer value-driven meals, promotions, and loyalty programs to attract price-conscious consumers.

  • Innovate and Adapt: Stay ahead of emerging trends by experimenting with new flavors, formats, and service models.

  • Focus on Customer Experience: Provide excellent service and create a welcoming atmosphere to build a loyal customer base.

  • Address Labor Challenges: Invest in employee training and development, offer competitive wages and benefits, and leverage technology to automate tasks and improve efficiency.

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