Sales recover to 76% of pre-pandemic levels; TikTok overtakes Instagram as most popular social channel among restaurateurs
New York City restaurant owners have not fully recovered from the pandemic, according to a report commissioned by TouchBistro. The 2023 “New York City State of Restaurants” report finds that these restaurant owners have regained sales to 76% of pre-pandemic levels.
The sales recovery results from New York City are comparable to what is occurring on the national level. But rising costs, including food and other expenses, have eroded profit margins In the city. Restaurateurs there dropped nearly a full point of profit to 10.1% of sales, which is 0.5-percentage points lower than the US average of 10.6%.
“After contending with the worst of the pandemic, many restaurants had their sights set on a more successful recovery, but it’s been a mix of highs and lows,” says Samir Zabaneh, chief executive of TouchBistro. “Now, as the restaurant industry enters another year characterized by economic instability and change, many restaurants are once again preparing to adjust the way they run their businesses. Restaurant guests are feeling the bite with higher menu prices, but restaurant owners are working hard to minimize the increases so it is not cost prohibitive for guests to continue to enjoy the dining venues and foods they love.”
In New York City, menu pricing increased by 16% on average, slightly above the national average.
Restaurants in the city spent 45% more on food cost on average versus the prior year, on par with the rest of the United States. Across the country, restaurant owners have seen fresh fruits and vegetables increase the most, with meat and seafood not far behind.
Almost all New York City restaurants (99%) indicate they are short-staffed; most operators say they are short about six staff members on average. The turnover rate is 33%, currently. About 96% of restaurants nationwide are experiencing staff shortage issues.
Bartenders and managers have become the most in-demand positions in New York City. Last year, servers and bartenders were the hardest to find. The bartender shortage is the same across the country, but now there is a problem with finding line cooks.
New York City restaurant trends revealed
Online ordering and delivery remain robust – In fact, most New York City restaurants are generating more than a quarter (28%) of their business from online ordering. And while Uber Eats is the number one online ordering platform across the US, direct-from-restaurant online ordering is the preferred solution for New York City restaurants.
Menu flexibility and modifications – Despite the rising cost of food, more than two-thirds of New York City restaurants have added items to their menus, surprisingly. Extended wine lists and increased customization are examples.
Wages for staff on the rise – In addition to 55% offering higher wages, restaurants in New York City also spend $4,561 training each new employee. This investment is 15% higher than the national average.
Popularity of loyalty programs – New York City restaurants have embraced loyalty programs more than ever before. Currently, more than two-thirds of the restaurants in the city offer a rewards program.
Social media engagement – As would be expected, Twitter and Facebook continue to be the most popular social media platforms to promote restaurants. However, TikTok is on the rise, as well, and has actually overtaken Instagram in terms of popularity among restaurateurs.
For a full copy of the 2023 “New York City State of Restaurants” report, click here. To download the national version, navigate here: touchbistro.com/blog/state-of-restaurants-report.
For more about the publisher of this restaurant news site, navigate here.