National Restaurant Association Rolls Out 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report; Marvin Irby and Hudson Riehle Comment
WASHINGTON, DC - Increased costs across the board, rising plant-based demand, and challenges as the industry seeks a return to normalcy all headline recent insights from the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Releasing its 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry report, the NRA details the status of current and emerging trends across categories such as technology, off-premises business, operations, workforce, food and menus, and more.
“The restaurant and foodservice industry has adapted and is carrying on with absolute resilience, so we’re optimistic about the path toward recovery in the coming year,” said Marvin Irby, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA. “We still have work to do to ensure that those operators struggling the most can survive. The Association will continue to champion the necessary government support needed at the federal and local levels to help keep these businesses—cornerstones of our communities—on a path to better days.”
Key findings from the report include:
- The foodservice industry is forecast to reach $898 billion in sales in 2022
- The foodservice industry workforce is projected to grow by 400,000 jobs, for total industry employment of 14.9 million by the end of 2022
- More than half of restaurant operators said it would be a year or more before businesses conditions return to normal
- Ninety-six percent of operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2021
Technological advances are opening up new opportunities in off-premise dining, with more than eight in 10 operators saying this provides a competitive advantage, and a good proportion of operators plan to ramp up investments in technology this year, a release noted.
The past year has also continued to drive consumer demand for outdoor dining with nearly four in 10 consumers saying the availability of outdoor seating would make them more likely to choose one restaurant over another similar one.
“Restaurants and their patrons have found themselves in a ‘new normal.’ Given emergent technology, changing consumer behavior and dining preferences, and the extraordinary challenges of the last two years, the industry is unlikely to ever completely return to its pre-pandemic state,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the Research and Knowledge Group at the NRA. “While recovery speed varies across the industry by segment, the constant innovation and sustained flexibility of restaurant operators are creating a new future for the restaurant industry. There will continue to be ample opportunities for growth in 2022 and beyond.”
Plant-based eating and sustainable, quality- and temperature-retaining packaging options will also play a large role in restaurant evolution. At the same time, menu offerings remain scaled back compared with pre-pandemic levels due to supply delays, shortages of food and beverage items, and elevated food costs.
Many restaurants remain severely understaffed, which will reportedly continue to constrain industry growth in 2022. Despite some gains, seven in 10 operators across all major segments say their restaurant currently does not have enough employees to support customer demand, and most operators expect their labor challenges to continue through next year.
For more on these findings, download the full report here.
As more industry findings come to light, we at ANUK will keep you up to date.