National Restaurant Association issues update on the state of the 2021 mid-year restaurant industry

WASHINGTON, August 31, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today, National Association of Restaurateurs released a mid-year supplement to the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, which illustrates the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry. The report provides an updated overview of key indicators and trends influencing the industry recovery in June /July 2021, including the current state of the economy, labor force, and food and beverage sales.

The main findings include:

  • Food and beverage sales in the restaurant and food service industry are expected to total $ 789 billion in 2021, up 19.7% compared to 2020.
  • Despite a steady trend of job creation in the first half of the year, catering establishments still account for nearly a million jobs, or 8%, below pre-pandemic employment levels and the restaurant and accommodation sector has one of the highest levels of vacancies. job postings from any industry.
  • From June 2021, 39 states and the District of Colombia had reopened to 100% its internal catering capacity; 11 states and Porto Rico are open to varying capacities ranging from 50% to 80%.
  • Six in 10 adults have changed their use of the restaurant due to the increase in the delta variant.

“Faced with one of the most devastating and disruptive events in our lives, the restaurant industry has made significant strides towards rebuilding in the first half of 2021,” said Tom Bené, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Consumer expectations for restaurant meals have changed and the industry continually adapts not only to meet, but also to exceed these expectations. Restaurant owners, along with their partners throughout the supply and distribution chain, remain focused on providing diners with an experience, against a backdrop of rising food and labor costs. work and challenges related to the pandemic. Given these factors, our outlook for the end of the year is cautiously optimistic. “

Labor and food costs remain the main challenges
July marked the seventh consecutive month of workforce growth, translating into a net increase of 1.3 million jobs in the first half of 2021. Despite these increases, foodservices remain nearly one million jobs, or 8% lower than pre-pandemic employment levels. Operators also continue to face higher input costs, with wholesale food prices rising at their fastest rate in seven years.

  • 75% of restaurateurs said recruiting employees was their biggest challenge in June 2021 – the highest level ever recorded.
  • The full-service segment lost 626,000 jobs, 11% below pre-pandemic employment levels; the limited services segment lost 175,000 jobs or 4% over the same period.
  • Menu prices have increased by almost 4% June 2021.

Technology, alfresco dining and takeout alcohol are here to stay
The pandemic has catalyzed many changes in the restaurant industry, including the rapid adoption by consumers of technology for online ordering, electronic payment and order pickup. Consumers want restaurants to continue to integrate technology and want to continue to eat al fresco. In 31 jurisdictions, thanks to approved legislation, consumers will be able to continue ordering alcoholic beverages with their take-out.

  • 52% of adults would like restaurants to integrate more technology to facilitate ordering and payment.
  • 84% of adults say they are in favor of restaurants setting up tables on sidewalks, parking lots or streets at all times.
  • A majority of adults in states that allow alcoholic beverages with takeout and delivery orders would like this to continue on a permanent basis.

Delta’s threat
In the first half of 2021, industry trends were positive, but there is still a long way to go. A survey by the National Restaurant Association, conducted August 13-15, found that the delta variant of COVID-19 threatens to reverse gains made in the first six months of the year.

  • 6 in 10 adults have changed their use of the restaurant due to the increase in the delta variant.
  • 19% of adults said they had completely stopped going out to eat.
  • 37% of adults said they ordered a delivery or take out instead of dining out.
  • 32% of adults said that if asked to wear a mask and / or show proof of vaccination to dine indoors again, they would be less likely to dine at a restaurant.

“The trends for the first half of the year are promising, but a lot of uncertainties remain regarding the delta variant, consumer confidence and ongoing workforce issues,” said Hudson riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “We expect pent-up restaurant demand to remain high over the coming months. However, in this state of flux, maintaining on-site meal availability with few capacity restrictions will be critical to sustaining overall sales momentum, especially for full-service operators. “

The National Restaurant Association will continue to monitor the effect of COVID-19 on the industry over the coming months and is planning a full report on the state of the restaurant industry in early 2022.

Click here to download the mid-year 2021 update on the state of the restaurant industry, sponsored by Sage Intacct.

About the National Association of Restaurateurs
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the premier trade association for the restaurant industry, comprising 1 million restaurant and food service outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington DC, and advocate for it. We sponsor the largest trade show in the industry (Salon of the national association of restaurateurs); Leading Food Safety Training and Certification Program (ServSafe); Unique Secondary Career Development Program (NRAEF ProStart). For more information visit and find us on Twitter@WeRRestaurants, Facebook and Youtube.

SOURCE National Association of Restaurateurs

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Cecil N. Messick

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