MENU
GET LISTED
GET LISTED
SHOW ALLPOPULAR CATEGORIES
  • Home
  • B2B News
  • Number of Restaurants in the US 2020: Statistics, Facts, and Trends

Number of Restaurants in the US 2020: Statistics, Facts, and Trends

Category: B2B News
How many restaurants are there in the US?
The restaurant scene in the US experienced tremendous growth over the last few years. In 2020, the projected sales of the restaurant industry will reach $899 billion[1]. In 2018, Statista reported that there were 13,251 new restaurants in the US, which brings the total number of restaurants in the US to 660,755, a 2% increase from the previous period.

Eating out is now a lifestyle among consumers in the US. This article will discuss the different kinds of restaurants in the market at the moment – quick service restaurants (QSR’s) and full service restaurants (FSR’s). Scroll down to find out more about how Americans like to eat out.

How many quick service restaurants (QSR’s) are there in the US?

Quick service restaurants[2] include limited-service eating places, fast-food restaurants, pizza-delivery establishments, ice cream parlors, beverage bars, cafeterias, carryout sandwich shops, and carryout service shops with on-premise baking of donuts, cookies, and bagels.

Quick service restaurant chains are regularly called into question due to their supply and production of unhealthy foods. During an online survey in 2016, 39% of the respondents said that healthy options play a major role when choosing a fast-food restaurant[3].

How often do Americans dine at a quick service restaurant?

In 2016, a Restaurant Habits Survey[4] carried out among Americans aged 18 years and older determined how frequent they eat at quick service restaurants. 20% of the respondents said they dine out at quick service restaurants once per week while 18% stated that they dine out several times per week.

How many Full Service Restaurants (FSR’s) are there in the US?

Full service restaurants (FSRs) are restaurants mainly engaged in providing food services to customers who order and are served while seated and pay after eating. It was estimated that there were 33,160 FSR franchises establishments in 2019[5].

Most Americans, 44% to be exact[6], stated in a November 2016 survey that they very much enjoy dining out at a full service restaurant.

Which city in the US has the most number of restaurants?

One of the hallmarks of a great city is a smorgasbord of great places to eat. The “food scene” according to Joe Cortright, principal economist with Impresa, is an important component of the urban experience.

The biggest restaurant city is San Francisco[7], with 39.3 restaurants per 10,000 households. Other restaurant-dense cities include New York City, the areas outside of New York City, Boston, Seattle, and San Jose, California.

Chart context menu
View in full screen
Print chart

Download PNG image
Download JPEG image
Download CSV
Download XLS
View data table

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US

Number of restaurants per 10,000 households

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
San Francisco, CA: 39.3

San Francisco, CA

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Fairfield County, CT: 27.6

Fairfield County, CT

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Long Island, NY: 26.5

Long Island, NY

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
New York, NY-NJ: 25.3

New York, NY-NJ

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Seattle, WA: 24.9

Seattle, WA

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
San Jose, CA: 24.8

San Jose, CA

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Orange County, CA: 24.8

Orange County, CA

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Providence, RI-MA: 24.3

Providence, RI-MA

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Boston: 24.2

Boston

The Top Ten Restaurant-Dense Cities in the US
Portland, OR-WA: 24

Portland, OR-WA

Designed by

What is the biggest restaurant chain in the US?

Each year, the QSR magazine takes the pulse of the quick-service landscape – from systemwide sales to average-unit volumes, in order to take a peek at the country’s most dynamic industries, which is often referred to as the heartbeat of American consumer.

Although it’s pulled back significantly in the last couple of years, sandwich giant Subway remains by a great deal the largest restaurant chain[8]. It’s 24,798 domestic locations are 9,973 ahead of Starbucks.

Chart context menu
View in full screen
Print chart

Download PNG image
Download JPEG image
Download CSV
Download XLS
View data table

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018

Number of locations

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Subway: 24798

Subway

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Starbucks: 14825

Starbucks

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
McDonald's: 13914

McDonald's

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Dunkin': 9419

Dunkin'

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Pizza Hut: 7456

Pizza Hut

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Burger King: 7327

Burger King

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Wendy's: 6711

Wendy's

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Taco Bell: 6588

Taco Bell

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Domino's: 5876

Domino's

Biggest fast-food chains in America, 2018
Dairy Queen: 4406

Dairy Queen

Designed by

What is the number 1 fast food restaurant in the US 2019?

Chick-fil-A claims the number one spot as America’s best fast-food chain[9] for the fourth year in a row, according to the 2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index polled 23,000 consumers on fast food, and Chick-fil-A got the number 1 spot with an overall score of 86 out of the possible 100. The Georgia-based chicken chain is down one point from last year and 7 points higher than the average score for all limited-service restaurants.

Founded in 1946, the restaurant chain is associated with the Southern United States and was also the most popular chicken restaurant chain[10] among US consumers as of April 2018. In addition, Daily Mail reported that Chick-fil-A is also continuing to grow, generating more than $10.5 billion in its most recent fiscal year[9].

How many chain restaurants are there in the US?

Ibis World[11] reported that there are 125,444 chain restaurants businesses in the US as of 2020, with a 1.4% year-on-year average growth from 2015-2020. The number of businesses in the chain restaurants industry is expected to grow by 1.9% in 2020. The Southeast region is where most of the chain restaurants are located.

In Spring 2018, there were 307,940 chain restaurants and 352,815 independent restaurants in the US[12].

How much does the restaurant industry earn?

Any one who owns a restaurant will tell you that it’s way harder than it looks. If you manage to push through your initial year with only a few hiccups, you can expect to hit your return of investment (ROI) in roughly 4 years[13]. The industry standard is 3 to 5 years.

Owing to how challenging it is to run the different aspects of a food service establishment, the SaaS industry has its own sector called restaurant management software.

Most Popular Restaurant Management Software

  1. Toast POSToast empowers a lot of US-based restaurants and has been awarded FinancesOnline’s Expert’s Choice Award 2019, reflecting the capabilities of this restaurant management SaaS.
  2. TouchBistro – An iOS point-of-sale system, TouchBistro is remarkably popular among restaurant owners for its features and functionalities.
  3. Oracle Hospitality – As its namesake implies, Oracle Hospitality is a hotel management software that naturally offers a lot of restaurant and food establishment features.
  4. Revel Systems POS – Designed for food and retail, Revel Systems POS is a powerful point-of-sale system that users point out is quite intuitive.
  5. When I Work – As a staff scheduling and management tool for food service employees, When I Work has been touted as an online restaurant platform that helps increase management efficiency and productivity.

How many people work in the restaurant industry in the US?

In 2015, there were approximately 14 million people working within the industry[14], and this number is expected to reach over 16 million by 2026.

In 2019, roughly 3.88 million employees worked in the quick-service restaurant (QSR)[15] franchise industry in the US. This is a 35% increase since 2010.

On the other hand, employment in the table/full service restaurant franchise industry was estimated at 1,116,894 in 2019[16].

How much is the hourly wage of foodservice employees in the US?

Like other service-oriented industries, the hours in the food service industry is varied and can be demanding, so one can argue that the pay is not commensurate to the energy and effort employees put into their work[17].

Chart context menu
View in full screen
Print chart

Download PNG image
Download JPEG image
Download CSV
Download XLS
View data table

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Chefs and head cooks: 25.08

Chefs and head cooks

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, private household: 19.83

Cooks, private household

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers: 17.4

First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, all other: 14.6

Cooks, all other

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, institution and cafeteria: 13.6

Cooks, institution and cafeteria

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, restaurant: 13.26

Cooks, restaurant

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Bartenders: 12.88

Bartenders

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Waiters and waitresses: 12.42

Waiters and waitresses

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Food preparation and serving related workers, all other: 12.23

Food preparation and serving related workers, all other

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, short order: 12.09

Cooks, short order

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Food servers, nonrestaurant: 12

Food servers, nonrestaurant

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Food preparation workers: 11.94

Food preparation workers

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers: 11.52

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop: 11.18

Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop: 11.17

Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Dishwashers: 11.15

Dishwashers

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Cooks, fast food: 10.89

Cooks, fast food

Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the US, by occupation (in US dollars)
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: 10.64

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

Designed by

How much do people enjoy dining in a restaurant?

Since 2004, the quick service restaurant sector (QSR) in the US has seen a year-over-year growth, with its peak consumer spending reaching approximately $300 billion in 2018[18]. Similarly, a notable 7% decline in consumer spending was seen in 2019.

Why do restaurants fail?

According to the 2017 fall census from NPD group, the number of independent restaurants in the US fell 3%[19], which brings the number to 346,105 units, a decrease of 10,952 units from the same period last year. This came as a result of chain restaurants remaining flat with their 2016 numbers.

The drop in independent restaurants was mostly in sit-down restaurants, as Americans increasingly favor grab-and-go delivery options. Overall, the number of US restaurants declined 2% for the period to 647,288 units. Full-service restaurants on the other hand, also fell 2%, to 294167.

How many successful restaurants are there in the US?

The restaurant business is very tough. The average lifespan of a restaurant is five years and according to some estimates, up to 90% of new ones fail within the first year. However, there are some very successful exceptions that manage to succeed amidst challenges and competition.

Chart context menu
View in full screen
Print chart

Download PNG image
Download JPEG image
Download CSV
Download XLS
View data table

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019

Annual sales in US dollars

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Joe's Stone Crab: 38400000

Joe's Stone Crab

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Carmine's (New York): 36889370

Carmine's (New York)

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
The Boathouse Orlando: 35499910

The Boathouse Orlando

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Old Ebbitt Grill: 33291280

Old Ebbitt Grill

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Lavo New York: 27521650

Lavo New York

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Smith & Wollensky: 25474000

Smith & Wollensky

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: 25167986

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Balthazar: 25100000

Balthazar

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Bryant park Grill & Cafe: 24700000

Bryant park Grill & Cafe

Most successful Independent restaurants, 2019
Junior's: 23661885

Junior's

Designed by

What are the current trends in the restaurant industry?

National Restaurant Association conducted the What’s Hot survey in November-December 2019, wherein 600 American Culinary Federation chefs answered an online survey, asking them to rate how hot below trends would be on a scale from sizzling hot, steaming, simmering, and just room temperature.

Top 10 overall restaurant trends for 2020[20]:

  1. Eco-friendly packaging
  2. Plant-based proteins
  3. Delivery-friendly menu items
  4. Healthy bowls
  5. Scratchmade
  6. Creativity with catering
  7. Revamped classic cocktails
  8. Stress relievers
  9. Specialty burger blends
  10. Unique beef and pork cuts

While some of these trends already sound familiar and are self-explanatory, others are new to the ear, or at least in terms of what it’s called. For instance, stress relievers refer to ingredients in food that promote relaxation/relieve stress. Specialty burger blends include mushroom-beef burgers and other plant-based burger patties options.

Aside from above mentioned trends, food halls will continue to grow in popularity as aspiring restaurateurs realize that they don’t need to sink all their startup budget into brick and mortar locations. Food halls are communal dining spaces where operators can rent a booth to test out their restaurant concept.

When it comes to QSRs, lifestyle campaigns and limited time offers (LTOs) will be key to marketing[21]. more and more restaurants will invest in wacky and Instagrammable merchandise as part of their customer retention efforts. Brands will also continue to lean into specialty LTOs in order to pique consumer interest and drive social media engagement.

The restaurant industry is the type of business that if you don’t evolve or innovate, your business will die. Consumers will eventually get tired of the same menu, hence introducing new product concepts is one of the keys to keep your restaurant afloat. It’s crucial for the restaurant owners to be perceptive and know what their clients want. Because as the lifestyle of people changes, so does their diet.

 


References:

  1. ^2020 State of the Restaurant Industry
  2. ^Number of quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise establishments in the United States from 2007 to 2020
  3. ^How much of a role does having healthy options on the menu play in choosing a fast-food restaurant?
  4. ^How often do you dine out at quick service restaurants?
  5. ^Number of full service restaurant (FSR) franchise establishments in the United States from 2013 to 2020
  6. ^How much do you enjoy dining out at a full service restaurant?
  7. ^Here Are the Most Restaurant- and Bar-Dense US Cities
  8. ^The 32 Biggest Fast-Food Chains in America
  9. ^Chick-fil-A named America’s favorite fast food restaurant: See 2019 rankings
  10. ^Favorite chicken restaurant chains of consumers in the United States as of May 2019
  11. ^Chain Restaurants in the US Number of Businesses 2001–2026
  12. ^Total U.S. Restaurant Count At 660,755 in Spring 2018, A One Percent Drop From Last Year, Reports NPD
  13. ^Food and drinks sales of full-service restaurants in the United States from 2009 to 2017
  14. ^Number of employees in the restaurant industry in the United States from 2010 to 2019
  15. ^Employment in the quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise industry in the United States from 2007 to 2020
  16. ^Employment in the full service restaurants (FSR) franchise industry in the United States from 2013 to 2020
  17. ^Hourly wages of foodservice employees in the United States as of May 2019, by occupation
  18. ^Consumer spending in the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector in the United States from 2004 to 2019
  19. ^Total U.S. Restaurant Count At 647,288, A Drop From Last Year Due to Decline In Independent Restaurant Units, Reports NPD
  20. ^What’s Hot 2020 Culinary Forecast
  21. ^5 restaurant trends that will define 2020
Louie Andre

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

TOP

Why is FinancesOnline free? Why is FinancesOnline free?

FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.