Eighty-percent of restaurant operators say tech is an advantage: 2019 State of Restaurant Industry

As industry sales forecast reaches $863B, 40 percent of restaurants invest in off-premises business

The National Restaurant Association released its 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry, projecting sales to reach $863B this year. According to the forecast, the Association expects there will be 1.6 million new restaurant jobs over the next ten years. Off-premises business is a must, based on consumer desire for conveniences like takeout and delivery. Half of Millennials (and 38 percent of all adults) are more likely to order delivery than they were two years ago.

While the Restaurant Association says operators are generally optimistic about their businesses, they also acknowledge the concern restaurant operators have about labor costs and the regulatory environment.

Key technology findings in 2019 State of Restaurant Industry forecast

Technology is a tool for competitive advantage, according to 80 percent of restaurant operators. Forty-percent of owners and operators will invest in off-premises business, which may include technology, infrastructure and third-party providers. Additionally, restaurants will continue to accelerate and increase investment in technology, in general, as well. Some findings on additional technology investments:

  • For the front of house, customer-facing technologies such as online or app ordering, mobile payment, delivery management and reservations. Kiosks will be a driver for quick-service restaurants with 70 percent of operators investing in this type of technology. Restaurant owners and operators are also taking a good luck at tablets, iPads and tableside ordering
  • For the back of house, additional investments in point-of-sale systems, inventory and table management will increase

“Consumer demand for greater convenience and speed will continue to accelerate, and restaurants are responding by adopting and incorporating more sophisticated layers of technology into day-to-day operations,” said Hudson Riehle, National Restaurant Association senior vice president, research and knowledge group.


“Operators across all restaurant segments will focus on building their business among Millennials and younger consumers in the years ahead. To attract these digital natives we can expect the majority of operators to get creative in offering personalized incentives, deals, loyalty programs and rewards through various digital channels.”

Also, about three-quarters of restaurant operators rate overall business conditions in the U.S. restaurant industry as “good” or “excellent,” according to the 2019 State of Restaurant Industry forecast, published by the National Restaurant Association.

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