Get the facts with the latest National Statistics

The size, scope and impact of the U.S. restaurant industry

Restaurant Industry Facts at a Glance

  • $799 billion: Restaurant industry sales in 2021, down $65 billion from 2019's pre-pandemic levels 
  • 14.5 million: Restaurant industry employees at the end of 2021, down 1 million from pre-pandemic levels
  • 90,000: Restaurant locations temporarily or permanently closed because of the pandemic
  • 9 in 10 restaurants have fewer than 50 employees
  • 7 in 10 restaurants are single-unit operations
  • 8 in 10 restaurant owners started their industry careers in entry-level positions
  • 9 in 10 restaurant managers started in entry-level positions
  • Restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry
  • 41% of restaurant firms are owned by minorities – compared to 30% of businesses in the overall private sector.
  • Waitstaff at fullservice restaurants earn a median of $27.00 an hour, with the highest paid group making $41.50 an hour and the lowest, $19.00 an hour.