The restaurant industry has always been demanding.

A recent study by The Perry Group found that the average lifespan for any restaurant is 4-5 years.

In fact, most restaurants fail within the first year.

Seventy percent of those that survive the first year will be closed within five years. 

Of course, those who do survive the first five years are likely to thrive for many years to come. 

The industry is fickle because there are so many restaurants and public opinion plays a significant role in survival rates. 

Just a few negative reviews can destroy a restaurant, often beyond recovery. 

It may seem strange that so many restaurants are in business and so many new ones open every year.

But, for many people, owning their own restaurant is a dream and they need to seize the opportunity, regardless of the outcome. 

All these businesses form a vital part of the economy.

If you’re looking for how much is the restaurant industry worth, you may be surprised by the following:

Key Statistics

  • The industry is estimated to be worth $997 billion by the end of 2023
  • Three out of four restaurant owners expect to see growth this year
  • 92% of restaurant owners are concerned about food costs
  • 71% of the industry believes digital technology is essential for survival
  • The global full-service restaurant industry is worth $1.5 trillion
  • Globally the restaurant industry is worth $2,647 billion
  • In the US the restaurant industry accounts for 4% of GDP
  • 48% of consumers state contactless ordering is a priority
  • 56% of full-service businesses have added takeout and delivery options 
  • 53% of US adults see takeout food as an essential part of life

How Much Is The Restaurant Industry Worth in 2024?

1. The Industry Is Estimated To be Worth $997 Billion By The End Of 2023

It should be noted that the $997 billion forecast refers just to the US restaurant industry. 

While the industry has been through an incredibly turbulent few years, the general consensus is the industry is growing strongly and will continue to do so. 

This is reflected in the National Restaurant Association’s forecast for 2023.

They expect the income from the food service industry to reach $997 billion. 

This will be an excellent result as it shows the industry has recovered completely from the global pandemic. 

In 2019 the restaurant industry had a revenue of $863.

However, the pandemic hit in 2020 and destroyed many businesses.

Revenue for 2020 dropped to $659 billion as businesses struggled to survive.

The drop of $240 billion compared to predictions for the year could have been much worse.

However, enterprising business owners came up with a variety of ways to keep their businesses going, such as selling alcohol-to-go and outdoor dining.

In 2021 the industry bounced back to $789 billion, an impressive recovery in one year, almost returning to pre-pandemic levels. 

Impressively, in 2022 the industry managed to beat its 2019 revenue level and reached $898.

That was despite a slow summer thanks to ever-increasing food prices.  

(National Restaurant Association)

2. Three Out Of Four Restaurant Owners Expect To See Growth This Year

Three Out Of Four Restaurant Owners Expect To See Growth This Year

The surprising recovery in 2021 and 2022 has led many restaurant owners to be extremely positive.

The latest survey shows that three out of four restaurant owners are expecting to see growth in the industry and their business during 2023.

There is a general feeling that the industry has returned to normal.

However, rising food prices and other volatile economic elements are having a negative effect on restaurant diner numbers.

The encouraging factor is the desire of consumers to eat out.

It’s estimated 86% of Americans don’t feel they are eating out enough.

As soon as the volatile economic influences are resolved, the industry is likely to start booming again. 

Of course, as the industry recovers and continues to grow, competition will, once again, become fierce.

Nearly half of all business owners (47%) expect competition to be more intense than in the previous year.    

(National Restaurant Association)

3. 92% Of Restaurant Owners Are Concerned About Food Costs

The food industry in the US and globally is recovering.

However, it still faces serious challenges.

One of the biggest of these is the struggling economy.

Inflation is potentially one of the biggest concerns.

August 2023 saw it rise to 3.7%, the first real rise since June 2022.

Of course, the June 2022 rate was the highest it had been for ten years. 

This is forcing the price of food up, making it harder to sell high-quality restaurant meals for a profit. 

According to the latest survey, 92% of restaurant owners are seriously concerned about the rising cost of food and the effect it is likely to have on their business. 

The good news is that 84% of respondents want the restaurant experience.

They believe it’s a better way to spend leisure time than cooking and cleaning at home. 

(National Restaurant Association)

4. 71% Of The Industry Believes Digital Technology Is Essential For Survival

71% Of The Industry Believes Digital Technology Is Essential For Survival

The pandemic forced many people to work from home.

It drove a revolution in working styles and increased humanity’s dependence on modern technology. 

Interestingly, many of the workers who switched to working at home have continued to do so after the pandemic passed. 

One thing is certain, the digital revolution is here to stay.

It’s never been easier to find a restaurant, order food, and even have it delivered.

All it takes is one food service app. 

Restaurants and other food service industry businesses are becoming increasingly aware of this.

The businesses which are flourishing are looking to include digital technology in the restaurant experience. 

Perhaps the most obvious is mobile ordering and payments, along with reviews and even delivery tracking. 

Being in control of the order process is important to many consumers, hence the love of digital technology. 

Most restaurants are aware of the issue and 71% feel that continuing to use digital technology and incorporating new technology into their businesses is essential for their survival.


5. The Global Full-Service Restaurant Industry Is Worth $1.5 Trillion

Full-service restaurants are simply part of the overall food industry.

To qualify they must have a varied menu, service at the counter and/or the booth, and use waiting staff. 

It’s a significant proportion of the US restaurant industry and is estimated to be worth $334 million in the US alone. 

Globally, this sector of the food industry is worth $1.5 trillion.

That’s the value in 2022.

By 2030 it’s estimated the full-service restaurant industry will be worth $1.8 billion. 

The US is the largest market in the world, followed by China with a market value of $624 billion.

Although a lot further down the list, European countries are enjoying boosts in restaurant numbers.

Currently, France’s restaurant industry is worth 50 billion euros, Germany is valued at 40 billion euros, and the UK has an impressive 73.6 billion euro valuation. 


6. Globally The Restaurant Industry Is Worth $2,647 Billion

According to the latest research, the size of the global market is an impressive and inconceivable $2,647 billion.

That’s as of 2023. 

In 2022 the global industry was worth $2,395.

The industry has shown impressive growth since the pandemic. 

The US takes a large percentage of the industry, with a value of over $334 million and that’s just for the US market. 

As the three leading food businesses in the world are American, it’s likely that the global restaurant industry is dominated by the US. 

The three leading food businesses are McDonalds, Dominos Pizza, and Darden Restaurants.

You’ll find it difficult to visit anywhere on the planet without one of these businesses nearby. 

(Fortune Business Insights)

7. In The US The Restaurant Industry Accounts For 4% Of GDP

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the value of all finished goods and services produced within a country.

In other words, the GDP shows, in financial terms, how productive a country has been. 

It’s made up of many different things, and every industry contributes.

As a measure of how popular dining out is, the restaurant industry makes up 4% of the GDP. 

It doesn’t sound like a lot until you appreciate that the automobile industry and even the fashion industry contribute less to the GDP. 

It’s also worth noting that the restaurant industry in the US is responsible for one in ten of all jobs.

The fact that one in ten people work within the industry is impressive, but not as impressive as the industry being the second largest employer in the US. 


8. 48% Of Consumers State Contactless Ordering Is A Priority

48% Of Consumers State Contactless Ordering Is A Priority

This fact is a sign of how the global pandemic changed the food industry.

As the pandemic hit and health precautions were necessary, most businesses switched to contactless ordering and payment options.

There were several solutions, although the best relied on the latest technology to improve the customer ordering and payment system. 

This change is here to stay.

A recent Forbes survey found that 48% of respondents would only consider a restaurant if it had a contactless ordering and payment system. 

It’s certainly convenient.

However, at present, the drive for contactless is more likely a result of changing habits post-pandemic. 

In short, contactless ordering and payment dramatically reduce the risk of infections being passed between people.

That’s what really makes them so popular now. 

Restaurants are listening, the latest figures show that one in four restaurants have implemented this feature in the last year and 50% of businesses intend to add it within the next three years. 


9. 56% Of Full-Service Businesses Have Added Takeout And Delivery Options 

The latest survey by Forbes found that, before the pandemic, the majority of people using a full-service restaurant would do so at the physical premises. 

The survey estimated that 80% of people were eating on-premises. 

However, the pandemic changed everything and businesses which are surviving have increased their range of takeaway items.

As many as 56% of restaurants have added takeout options.

In addition, 50% of fast-food and casual dining businesses have adjusted their menu options to allow off-premises dining.

The approach has been successful for many businesses which is why they have continued it post-pandemic.

Figures show 60% of Applebee’s sales are now for consumption off-premises.  


10. 53% Of US Adults See Takeout Food As An Essential Part Of Life

53% Of US Adults See Takeout Food As An Essential Part Of Life

Takeouts have always been an important element of weekly life.

It’s a great way to spend time with loved ones without the hassle of cooking. 

However, while this approach to dining has always been popular, it has become more popular since the pandemic. 

In fact, 53% of US adults now deem takeouts as an essential part of their life, helping to ensure they enjoy a high-quality lifestyle. 

As a sign of how the pandemic has affected people’s views on the world around them, 68% of adults now say they are more likely to buy takeout than they were before the pandemic. 

It’s worth noting this was also the option that many restaurants added during the pandemic, simply because it was the most likely to be used and was the least capital intensive. 


Summing Up

The state of the restaurant industry can be fairly accurately answered by looking at how much is the restaurant industry worth.

After all, the higher the value the better the industry is doing. 

Of course, this is a generalization.

While the industry has rebuilt since the pandemic, it has changed.

Today there are approximately 110,000 less independent restaurants than before the pandemic. 

The increase in restaurant numbers and revenue is largely a result of chains expanding, potentially suggesting it will be harder for independent restaurants to become established in the future. 

Currently, it’s possible to purchase almost any type of food.

However, if chains continue to push independents out, the restaurant industry could look very different in five to ten year’s time.

It’s time to watch these statistics and invest in your dream, while you still can.


National Restaurant AssociationRestaurant DiveZippia
BizfluentFortune Business InsightsStatista