The restaurant industry was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many restaurants closing their doors temporarily or permanently due to government mandates, reduced demand, and financial strain. However, as life has largely returned to normal, the industry has seen a significant rebound.
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant sales hit an impressive $95.5 billion in January of 2023. This is up from $76.2 Billion for January of the prior year. In January of 2021 restaurant sales were just $56.2 Billion.
Demand is expected to remain resilient as we go forward, even in the face of an economy that is likely to slow. Healthy household balance sheets and moderating inflation will give consumers the wherewithal to continue burning off the pent-up demand that they accumulated during the pandemic.
However, challenges do remain, the biggest being the labor shortage. As of the last week in January there were 1.5 million job postings for the Industry (the average for the year of 2019 was 930,000) *
Ongoing supply chain issues are also having an impact on restaurant operations and profitability.
Overall, while the restaurant industry is showing strong signs of recovery, it will likely take some time to fully rebound and adapt to the changing landscape.
Anthony John Rigney is Broker and Owner at Quorum Business Advisors a main street business brokerage operating in Florida and select other States.
* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics