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.
Restaurant Owner Demographics
Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey and Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics programs, this National Restaurant Association Data Brief contains an overview of restaurant owner demographics on the national and state levels.
Restaurant Employee Demographics
Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, this National Restaurant Association Data Brief contains an overview of restaurant employee demographics.
Tipped Employee ResearchBased on National Restaurant Association research, this data brief contains 2022 data on hourly earnings of fullservice waitstaff.