Restaurant operators in the US are feeling optimistic about business conditions, aren’t afraid to invest in expansion and are experiencing high delivery sales, a new report has found.
The National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report found that roughly three in four operators gave ratings of ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ when asked to assess business conditions in the overall US restaurant industry.
In addition, nearly four in 10 operators planned to invest more capital in expanding their off-premises business in 2019, with more than eight in 10 restaurant operators agreeing that the use of technology in a restaurant provided a competitive advantage.
A majority of casual-dining (72%), family-dining (63%) and fast-casual operators (64%) said their delivery sales were higher than they were two years ago.
While businesses are feeling positive about the year ahead, operators were also aware of competitive pressures, rising labor costs, a tighter labor market, and a complex regulatory landscape that compounded pressure on business performance and revenue.
Technologies where operators will invest included: front-of-house, customer servicing technologies such as online or app ordering, mobile payment, delivery management and reservations.
A solid majority (70%) of quickservice (where patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating) operators planned to invest in back-of-house technologies such as point-of-sale, inventory and table management, customer-facing tech devices such as tablets, iPads, tableside ordering and kiosks.
Approximately half of restaurant operators rated their business as stronger than two years ago.
US restaurants will create an additional 1.6m jobs by 2029, the industry report found, while sales will reach $863bn in 2019.
“The restaurant industry is on a continued growth trajectory, driven by an expanding US economy and positive consumer sentiment,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Restaurant Association.