Restaurant industry continues to recover from pandemic and expects hiring challenges in 2022


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The restaurant industry continues to recover from the pandemic while facing hiring challenges through 2022. The 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report catering from the National Restaurant Association examines existing and emerging trends such as the use of technology, alcohol to-go demand, workforce prospects and more.

Main conclusions of the report:

  • The restaurant industry is expected to reach $898 billion in sales in 2022.
  • The restaurant industry workforce is expected to grow by 400,000 jobs, for total industry employment of 14.9 million by the end of 2022.
  • More than half of restaurateurs said it would take a year or more before business conditions return to normal. Food, labor and occupancy costs are expected to remain elevated and continue to impact restaurant profit margins in 2022.
  • Ninety-six percent of operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverages in 2021 – and these challenges are likely to continue into 2022.
  • Fifty-one percent of adults say they don’t eat out as often as they would like, up six percentage points from before the pandemic.

“The restaurant and catering industry has adapted and continues with absolute resilience, so we are optimistic about the path to recovery over the coming year,” said Marvin Irby, President and interim CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “We still have work to do to ensure that the operators who struggle the most can survive. The association will continue to advocate for the necessary government support at the federal and local levels to help keep these businesses – cornerstones of our communities – on the path to better days.

The report shows increased demand for takeaway alcohol and alfresco dining, with nearly four in 10 consumers saying they would choose a restaurant that offers al fresco dining over another. The pandemic has forced many restaurants to offer online ordering or other technologies. The use of technology in the industry is here to stay, with more than eight in 10 operators saying technology gives the business a competitive advantage.

When it comes to the industry’s workforce, the report says that 50% of restaurant owners anticipate recruiting and retaining employees will be a challenge in 2022.

Other key figures on the restaurant workforce include:

  • Between 2023 and 2030, the industry is expected to create an average of 200,000 jobs each year, with total workforces reaching 16.5 million by 2030.
  • Seventy-five percent of operators said they plan to devote more resources to recruiting and retaining employees.

“Restaurants and their customers have found themselves in a ‘new normal’. Given emerging technology, changing consumer behavior and dining preferences, and the extraordinary challenges of the past two years, it is unlikely that the industry will fully return to its pre-pandemic state,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group, told the National Restaurant Association. “As the speed of recovery varies across industry by segment, constant innovation and sustained flexibility of restaurateurs is creating a new future for the restaurant industry. There will still be plenty of growth opportunities in 2022 and beyond. »

Plant-based sandwiches, immunity-boosting foods, and sustainable packaging are expected to be top trends in 2022. Other food and beverage trends in the report:

  • Eighty-eight percent of adults (including 94% of millennials) say they would be likely to try ordering a wider variety of food items for takeout or delivery if the restaurant used packaging that helps consumers food to maintain the same temperature, taste and quality as before. it is served in the restaurant.
  • Six in 10 full-service operators say their menu has fewer offerings now than before the pandemic.
  • Fifty-seven percent of adults say they would likely participate in a meal subscription program if it was offered by one of their favorite restaurants. Eight in 10 millennials and Gen Z adults say they would use this option.

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