The OpenTable team just got back from Chicago for the 2016 National Restaurant Association Show, the largest annual gathering of the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industries. When we weren’t hanging out in our booth , chatting with OpenTable fans and customers, or drinking pour-over coffee by Chicago locals Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, we were attending one of the many education sessions that NRA offers over the course of the four-day show.
We were able to get a bird’s-eye view of the current state of the restaurant economy, thanks to the extensive research conducted by the National Restaurant Association over the past year. Some topline stats:
- Americans are projected to spend about $783 billion on dining out in 2016.
- 14.4 million Americans work in restaurants — one in every 10 Americans.
- The top two challenges restaurants are currently facing are labor cost (including minimum wage hikes) and recruiting talent.
- Over the past year, there has been a 4.9% increase in table-service restaurant openings.
- 45% of Americans are not eating at restaurants as often as they would like. There is huge opportunity for restaurants to take advantage of this desire.
Out of the many sessions we attended, there were a few in particular that gave valuable insight to the current state of the restaurant industry. Here are the highlights.… Read more