Restaurants

Statistics and Market Data on Restaurants

Restaurants statistics On this page you can find statistics, facts, market data and further information on the restaurant industry, including industry-specific segmental breakdowns of products and services.


The restaurant/hospitality industry is highly competitive and diversified in regard to its products and how they are presented and sold to the restaurant patrons. It can be broadly divided into two categories: the commercial restaurant and foodservice segment, and the noncommercial foodservice segment. In the United States, for example, the commercial segment makes up about 80 percent of the market, while the noncommercial segment accounts for the remaining 20 percent. According to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, the annual revenue from food and drink sales in the United States is at more than 600 billion U.S. dollars.

The commercial segment includes all types of restaurants in the full-service and quick-service / limited-service segments of the industry as well as foodservice operations in locations as diverse as stadiums, airlines and cruise ships.
The full-service segment includes family dining, casual dining and fine dining restaurants. An example of a family dining restaurant is the restaurant chain IHOP (International House of Pancakes). The restaurant chains Applebee’s, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Buffalo Wild Wings are considered casual dining chains. Enterprises in the fine dining segment are more likely to be single unit operations, but there also chains in the segment with more than 50 units, like Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
Typical characteristics of limited-service / quick-service restaurants (QSR) are serving the customer as quickly as possible and usually offering the food at cheaper prices than full-service establishments. QSR / limited-service restaurants are often part of a chain, such as McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and Wendy’s. The total revenue of U.S. fast food / limited-service restaurants is estimated to amount to between 170 and 200 billion U.S. dollars.

QSR, coffeehouse and pizza (delivery) chains are major players in the U.S. foodservice and restaurant market. McDonald’s, for example, operates or franchises more than 34 thousand restaurants worldwide, generating revenues in excess of 27 billion U.S. dollars. According to ‘Brands Top 100’, published by MilwardBrown, McDonald’s is the most valuable fast food brand in the world with a brand value of 95 billion U.S. dollars. Starbucks places second in this ranking of brands with an ascribed brand value of 17 billion U.S. dollars. The coffee house chain is the market leader in its segment with almost 15 billion U.S. dollars in revenue and almost 20 thousand stores worldwide.

Total employment in the U.S. restaurant industry was estimated at around 10 million by the National Restaurant Association. About 4.7 million of those jobs are attributable to the full-service segment, 3.7 million are within the quick-service restaurant segment and 1.6 million employees work at establishments in other restaurant segments such as cafeterias/grill buffets, snack/nonalcoholic beverage bars, food service contractors, caterers/mobile foodservice, and bars & taverns. The employees work at more than 600 thousand restaurants throughout the U.S.

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