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National Restaurant Association forecasts a record-breaking $1.1 trillion in sales for 2024, reinforcing cautious optimism of Texas restaurants

The National Restaurant Association released its annual State of the Restaurant Industry Report with new data, trends and forecasts that reinforce the cautious optimism of Texas restaurants. Among the findings, the National Restaurant Association estimates that restaurant sales will set a record-breaking $1.1 trillion by the end of 2024. Fueling this growth will be a workforce of over 15.7 million people, or 1 in 10 jobs in America, with over 1.4 million Texas restaurant employees and counting.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Nationwide, restaurants are expected to add 200,000 jobs in 2024. By 2030, Texas’ share of restaurant jobs is expected to exceed 1.66 million.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 restaurant operators nationwide predict their sales will increase (33%) or hold steady (45%) this year.
  • Off-premises dining continues to be incredibly popular: 67% of millennials and 63% of Gen Z adults report that ordering restaurant takeout is an essential part of their lifestyle.
  • 60% of restaurant operators nationwide plan to make technology investments in 2024 to enhance the customer experience.
  • Customers are willing to be flexible to maximize value:
    • 85% report that they are more flexible about when they dine if they receive a deal, and
    • 75% report that they will opt for smaller portion sizes for a reduced price.

At the same time, the report confirms that economic challenges continue to impact Texas restaurants:

  • Only 27% of restaurant operators nationwide expect to be more profitable in 2024.
  • For Texas restaurants, elevated food, labor, credit card processing, and other overhead costs continue to squeeze profitability, particularly since menu price increases reduce customer traffic. For example, average food prices remain 25% above their pre-pandemic levels.
  • 45% of restaurant operators nationwide need more employees to meet customer demand and 70% have job openings that are difficult to fill.  
  • 77% of restaurant operators nationwide experienced supply delays or shortages of key items in 2023.

To aid these challenges, the Texas Restaurant Association has bolstered its member benefits, education, training resources and public policy improvements to help restaurants reduce costs, maximize efficiencies and provide a terrific experience to their customers and employees, regardless of the economic environment.

“As the 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report highlights, restaurants are resilient,” Emily Williams Knight Ed.D., president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “With this data, the strength of our local economy and the invaluable resources of the TRA, Texas has a unique opportunity to continue to lead nationwide restaurant growth.”

Click here to download the 2024 National Restaurant Association State of the Restaurant Industry Report.