The National Restaurant Association, in partnership with American Express and Nestlé Professional, has released its 10-year outlook report on the projected state of the U.S. restaurant industry in 2030. The report examines the key indicators shaping the future of the industry, identifies the most and least likely developments over the upcoming decade, and considers possible disrupters outside the industry that could transform it. The findings are based on input from a variety of restaurant sector experts, futurists, and government statistics.
The report states that restaurant industry sales are expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2030, and that the industry workforce will likely exceed 17 million by that time.
The definition of “restaurant” will change as off-premises continues to drive industry growth.
Over the next decade, technology and data will become a greater focus for restaurants as they adapt to growing consumer expectations in the on-demand world. Guests will expect a seamless digital experience and want their preferences known at each interaction with a restaurant. As off-premises traffic and sales continue to accelerate, consumers will place a heightened importance on experiential dining for on-premises occasions.
Sustainable sourcing and transparency will continue to grow in focus for consumers over the next decade. In order to remain competitive, restaurants will need to adapt to evolving dietary restrictions and consumer preferences. Food trends and menus will naturally evolve to reflect the increasingly health-conscious, ecological mindset of the consumer.
Population growth at an expected annual rate of 0.7% between 2018 and 2030, accompanied by changing demographics in the next decade, are expected to lead to an average labor growth rate of 0.5% annually between 2018 and 2028. With slower labor-force growth, restaurants will continue to compete against other industries for talent, making recruitment and retention vital to success in the coming decade.
“Deconstructing possible trends and innovations of the next decade will help both large and small business owners in the restaurant industry anticipate their greatest challenges,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “With these actionable insights for the future, restaurants will remain an integral part of the economy and a cornerstone of every community across this nation.”
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