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The 2024 State of the Industry Survey: What We’ve Learned So Far

The 2024 State of the Industry Survey: What We’ve Learned So Far

Picture of Denise Prichard

Denise Prichard

Discover some of the highlights from Restaurant365’s latest customer survey, covering everything from restaurant food and labor costs to emerging industry trends and the future of restaurant tech. 

Throughout the year, Restaurant365 makes it a priority to regularly touch base with its customers. But it’s not just about collecting data—it’s also about staying connected with the industry. These surveys give the team a chance to hear firsthand about your challenges, your wins, and how things are shaping up in the restaurant industry throughout 2024. 

Let’s explore some key highlights that reveal the current state of the industry and offer glimpses into the future. 

Restaurant365’s Q1 State of the Restaurant Industry Survey: Diving into the data

As the industry’s leading all-in-one, cloud-based restaurant management platform with accounting, inventory, and workforce management, we’re honored to walk alongside customers as they navigate the complexities of running and growing successful restaurant businesses. 

We make it a point to dig deeper into the front lines to get firsthand insights into operators’ perspectives, thoughts, emotions, and plans. Restaurant operators generously participated in our recurring State of the Industry survey, sharing their time, thoughts, and ongoing dedication to delivering excellent dining experiences. Take a closer look at the key statistics from the most recent survey below. 

On food & labor costs

  • More than 78% of respondents said labor costs increased last quarter 
    • 64% said 1%-5%—a jump from 51% as reported earlier this year  
    • 31% said 6%-14% 
    • 6% reported more than 15% 
  • In Restaurant365’s 2024 State of the Industry Report released earlier this year, a majority of respondents reported an average increase of 2.9% in food costs.
    • 79% said it would be in the 1%-5% range 
    • 19% said 6%-14% 
    • 2% reported the increase will be 15% or more 
  • On food costs, 76% said they expected costs to increase  
    • 79% said 1%-5%  
    • 18% said 6%-14% 
    • 3% said the increase will be 15% or more 
  • In response to rising food costs, 52% of respondents plan to prioritize more frequent inventory and waste tracking, while an additional 35% intend to implement changes with their suppliers/vendors. 

2024’s top challenges so far

When questioned about their biggest hurdle in 2024 up to now, restaurant leaders echoed familiar struggles: dealing with issues like sales volume, labor costs, and staffing. 

  • 32% of respondents identified recruiting and retaining staff as their top challenge 
  • 30% of participants cited sales volume as their most pressing concern 
  • 19% of respondents reported labor costs as their primary worry 
  • 16% of participants said food costs were causing the most headaches 
  • 4% of respondents indicated that disconnected technology was a significant issue 


Spring Cleaning Checklist

Building plans

Recognizing the nature of the restaurant industry, survey participants voiced their plans to allocate resources towards a variety of talent and tools to ensure 2024 continues to be a success. Leaders were presented with a selection of six investment priorities and had the flexibility to choose one or more options to enhance their strategies for the year ahead. 

  • 37% said marketing technology, promotions, and loyalty programs will be their top investment in 2024 
  • 35% staff training, salaries, recruitment, and benefits will be their main focus 
  • 22% said they plan on investing in technology, including POS, back-of-house systems, and data analytics 
  • 6% reported they would invest more in automation like kiosks and robotics 

New opportunities

When the topic of exploring additional revenue streams came up, survey participants shared a diverse range of responses, adding an exciting layer of depth to the conversation. 

  • 33% of respondents aim to prioritize special events or promotions to drive revenue 
  • Another 33% plan to leverage catering services to increase earnings 
  • 24% will emphasize takeout and delivery as a revenue booster 
  • 6% intend to offer branded merchandise to diversify their revenue streams 
  • 4% will focus on pantry/grocery sales to supplement their income 

We make it a point to dig deeper into the front lines to get firsthand insights into operators’ perspectives, thoughts, emotions, and plans.


Restaurant Type 

  • 48% of participants represented casual dining restaurants 
  • 30% of respondents were from the fast-casual segment 
  • 12% were fine dining establishments 
  • 10% were quick-serve restaurants


Job Type 

  • 42% were general managers 
  • 25% were in-store operations 
  • 24% were in accounting 
  • 8% were business owners 
  • 2% were human resources professiona


As you set off on your journey through the months ahead, know that Restaurant365 is here to support your restaurant’s success. Whether you prefer watching, reading, or connecting, there’s a wealth of resources available to keep you informed about the latest industry trends and best practices. Take a look at the resource center, where you’ll find blogs, guides, webinars, case studies, ebooks, videos, and calculators—all tailored to help your restaurant thrive. Cheers to continued success throughout 2024. 

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