How often do you eat meals at restaurants, cafeterias, coffee shops, fast food drive-throughs or even food trucks? If you’re like most Americans, you very well could be eating the majority of your meals outside of the home as busier schedules, more hours at work, running errands, and activities, an increase in discretionary income, and less stay-at-home spouses add up to more people eating at restaurants than ever before.
Here are 30 facts about the US restaurant industry you might find interesting:
The restaurant industry by the numbers:
1. As of the spring of 2015, there were 630,511 restaurants in the U.S. – or 1 for every 504 people!
2. Of those, about 37 percent, or 232,611, are fast food establishments and restaurants, bringing in $191 billion and paying out $47 billion in wages every year.
3. The restaurant industry is so big that it exerts significant law-making power, with 304 food and beverage lobbyists in 2015, together spending more than $17 million.
That sum is just an appetizer compared to the record more than $57 million spent in 2009. Coca Cola and Pepsi were the strongest political lobbyists, with more than $7.5 million in campaign and political contributions between them
4. In fact, the NRA (National Restaurant Association) is the biggest and strongest umbrella organization for food and beverage servers in the U.S., founded in 1919 and now representing more than 380,000 restaurants.
5. A popular and often-used statistic is that 90 percent of restaurants go out of business in their first year – originally floated during an American Express commercial. However, that is just a myth.
6. In fact, about 60 of restaurants do not make it past their first year - only slightly higher than the attrition rate for all first-year business failings, but 80 percent do go under within five years.
7. Restaurant employees in 2015 reached 14 million, almost one in ten people!
8. The restaurant workforce makes up approximately 10 percent of the overall US workforce.
9. It is forecasted that there will be a huge rise in the number of people employed in the U.S. restaurant industry and that by 2025 it will reach a whopping 15.72 million with 1.7 million opportunities becoming available.
10. In 2013, employees were asked if they were proud of their role within the restaurant industry.
11. Contrary to popular thoughts, 54 percent of those surveyed said they were proud to work in the restaurant industry. Only three percent stated that they we’re not happy in their jobs.
12. Approximately 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.
13. Seven in ten of those who do currently work in the restaurant industry say they will until they retire.
14. Eight in ten restaurant owners started their industry careers at entry-level positions like dishwashers, busboys, and servers, and worked their way up the ladder.
15. The average American eats on average 4.2 commercially prepared meals per week. As a nation, eating out between four and five times a week, on average. This number equates to 18.2 meals in an average month eaten outside the home.
16. In 2008, the number of meals purchased at a restaurant within the United States was 207 per person. In 2001 there was an all time high of 211 meals per person and in 2011 only 194 meals per person – all numbers that reflect the economy at the time.
17. According to the Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, the food away from home category amounted to 42 percent of expenditures outside the house in 2012.
18. 69 percent of consumers said they are more likely to eat at a restaurant that offers locally produced food items.
19. When it comes to lunch money, there are some big differences between how men and women dine. According to a Visa survey, the amount that is spent on eating out at lunch is higher for men. In fact, men outspend their female counterparts by 44 percent, an average $21 compared to $14 for women.
20. On a typical day the restaurant industry can reach $1.9 billion in sales.
21. By the end of 2015, total yearly sales in the restaurant industry are expected to hit a record high of $709.2 billion.
22. These numbers are still considered reasonably low, considering we’re six years removed from the recession. Still, that reflects the greater trend of Americans eating out much more than in past generations. In fact, in 1970 – the first year revenue data was collected – the restaurant sales only reached $42.8 billion.
23. Each person in our country spend $2,500 eating out every year on average according to the USDA, which comes to $208 per month or $48 per week.
24. Many 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.
25. Their mark up 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.
26. At any restaurant, 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.
27. At 1,075 feet high and offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city, The Mid-America Club in Downtown Chicago, is the tallest restaurant in the States, and tenth highest in the world.
28. 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, and a future French king once lived on the second floor above the now-Oyster House.
29. The Japanese restaurant, Masa in New York City was quoted in January 2015, as being the most expensive in America. With each person looking at a cost of $450 (and that’s before tip.) And…if you decide last minute to change your plans and cancel your booking you will face a charge of $200.
30. The biggest eating out day Valentines Day $8 billion, followed by Mothers Day.