The National Restaurant Association unveils its 2030 restaurant industry report


WASHINGTON, November 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the National Restaurant Association, in partnership with American Express and Nestlé Professional, released its 10-year outlook report on the projected state of the restaurant industry in 2030. The report, “Restaurant Industry 2030: Actionable Insights for the Future”, examines the key metrics shaping the future of the industry, identifies the most and least likely developments over the next decade, and considers possible disruptors outside the industry that could transform it. The results are based on input from a variety of restaurant industry experts, futurists and government statistics.

Key economic projections for 2030 include:

  • Restaurant industry sales are expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2030.
  • The industry’s workforce is likely to exceed 17 million by 2030.
  • Total employment in the United States is expected to grow at an annual rate of 0.5% over the next decade.
  • Total employment in the United States is expected to increase by 8.5% between 2018 and 2030.

“The restaurant industry is at a crossroads as it finds ways to meet consumer demand for out-of-home meal and snack solutions,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge Group. “Restaurant operators are rapidly adapting across their entire business to meet the wants and needs of customers. The radical transformation of the last decade will change the way the industry operates in the future. It is exciting to reflect how the industry will grow and transform over the next 10 years, and think about how the Association can best help the industry take advantage of these opportunities.”

The definition of “restaurant” will change as off-premises continues to drive industry growth.
Over the next decade, technology and data will become a higher priority for restaurants as they adapt to rising consumer expectations in the on-demand world. Customers will expect a seamless digital experience and want to know their preferences with every interaction with a restaurant. As off-premises traffic and sales continue to accelerate, consumers will place an increased emphasis on experiential dining for on-site occasions. Areas to watch include:

  • A greater proportion of meals will no longer be cooked at home, leading to the continued increase in delivery, virtual restaurants, subscription services and takeout at outlets.
  • Cloud kitchens will continue to grow, fueled by the expansion of centralized kitchens and the growth of online, delivery-only brands.
  • Consumers may become increasingly loyal to third-party delivery apps, which impacts loyalty to individual restaurants.
  • Governments may impose additional regulations on third party delivery.
  • Drive-thru services may need to adapt to interactions with autonomous vehicles.
  • The restaurant of the future will be smaller. Smaller restaurants could incorporate more automated kitchen equipment and the typical kitchen layout may change.

Nutrition and sustainability will determine the menus.
Sustainable sourcing and transparency will continue to grow in importance to consumers over the next decade. In order to stay competitive, restaurants will need to adapt to changing dietary restrictions and consumer preferences. Food trends and menus will naturally evolve to reflect the increasingly health-conscious and green mindset of the consumer. Areas to watch include:

  • Single-use packaging in catering, including delivery, will evolve.
  • Artificial intelligence with knowledge of cooking techniques, food chemistry, recipes and alcohol could produce unexpected new food and drink experiences.
  • Advanced genetic knowledge and the increasing incidence of lifestyle-related diseases are likely to create a growing demand for meals that offer specific health benefits to diners.

The restaurant workforce is changing.
Population growth at a projected annual rate of 0.7% between 2018 and 2030, accompanied by demographic shifts over the next decade, is expected to result in an average labor force growth rate of 0.5% per year between 2018 and 2028. With slower labor force growth, restaurants will continue to compete with other industries for talent, making recruitment and retention critical to success in the next decade. Restaurant employers will adopt career-focused mindsets as operators improve retention by providing benefits and long-term career paths to success. Key stats and areas to watch include:

  • The number of adults aged 65 and over in the labor force is expected to reach a record high of 16.1 million by 2028.
  • The number of teenagers in the labor force is expected to drop to 5.1 million by 2028, its lowest level in 65 years.
  • Operators will automate more routine tasks in the background to improve productivity and efficiency.

“Deconstructing the trends and possible innovations of the next decade will help owners of large and small businesses in the restaurant industry anticipate their biggest challenges,” Riehle said. “With this actionable information for the future, restaurants will remain an integral part of the economy and a cornerstone of every community across this country.”

Download the full 2030 Restaurant Industry Report at

About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading trade association for the restaurant industry, comprising 1 million food and beverage outlets and a workforce of 15.3 million employees. We represent the industry in washington d.c., and plead on his behalf. We host the largest trade show in the industry (National Restaurant Association Show from May 16 to 19, 2020, at Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique high school career development program (ProStart from NRAEF). For more information, visit and find us on Twitter@WeRRestaurants, Facebook and Youtube.

About American Express
American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, information and experiences that enrich lives and help businesses succeed. Learn more about and join us on,,,

Key links to product, service and corporate responsibility information: payment and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Certify, InAuth, Company card, Business tripand corporate responsibility.

About Nestle Professional
Nestlé Professional is committed to being an inspiring growth partner that delivers creative branded food and beverage solutions, enabling foodservice operators to delight their consumers. Of Minors®Stouffer’s®Chief Companion® and threesome® from trendy cookware to innovative beverage systems under Nescafe® and Coffee-Mate® brands, Nestlé Professional meets the needs of catering operators while satisfying the tastes of the out-of-home consumer. Nestlé Professional is part of Nestlé SA in VeveySwitzerland—the largest food company in the world—with sales of more than $98 billion. For news and information on restoration products, visit

SOURCE National Restaurant Association

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