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America’s Still Dining Out

1 Mins read

The 2024 outlook for the restaurant industry is strong. The year kicked off with sales of $95.1 billion, up 0.7% from December 2023. This was the 11th straight month spending at “eating and drinking places” increased, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Consumers prioritized going to bars and restaurants in January since consumer spending in non-restaurant retail sectors plunged 1.1%

Overall, in the last 11 months, sales at bars and restaurants rose 9%.

And in the future, it’s only going to get better. According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Restaurant Industry 2024, industry sales will reach $1.1 trillion this year. Other notable stats:

  • 1 million outlets in 2024
  • 7 million employees, with 200,000 jobs added this year. Employment is expected to grow to 16.9 by 2032.
  • 41% of restaurant owners are minorities
  • 47% of restaurants are at least 50% owned by women
  • Most restaurants are small businesses—over 90% have less than 50 employees

Of course, there are challenges:

  • 45% of restaurant owners expect to face increased competition this year
  • 27% of restaurant owners say retaining and attracting employees will be their biggest challenge
  • 90% say customers are more “value-conscious” than they used to be

Consumers have wants, too. Over 80% would “take advantage” of discounts to dine out on slower nights of the week or times of the day. And 81% would join a loyalty program if asked.

There’s more valuable information in the industry report. Check it out.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Twitter @Rieva, and visit her website to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free Currents newsletter.

Business  owner stock photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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