The days of having to make a reservation way ahead of time to get into a well-known fine-dining establishment have returned. Bar seats at many restaurants are now occupied, and families and friends are enjoying nights out at their favorite local haunts. Masks have come off in the majority of places, with diners having the option of indoor or outdoor dining. The restaurant/bar/tavern/nightclub (RBTN) industry is making its way back after two years of upheaval and massive changes due to the pandemic – a true testament to its resiliency.
The most recent Mastercard SpendingPulseTM report shows that restaurant sales increased 19.1% year over year in March. In addition, according to the 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), sales at restaurants this year will be far better than in 2021. The NRA report estimates that restaurant sales will reach $898 billion in 2022 and return to their pre-pandemic trajectory. According to the NRA, the food service industry workforce is also projected to grow by 400,000 jobs, for total industry employment of 14.9 million by the end of 2022.
Amid this good news, however, there are concerns and challenges that persist. More than 50% of restaurant operators in the NRA report said it would take a year or more of solid business receipts before conditions truly return to normal. This is because of inflation and rising food, labor, and occupancy costs, which are expected to remain elevated and will continue to impact profit margins in 2022. Supply chain delays also contribute to the challenges the industry continues to experience.
Generational Demographics Impacting Industry Trends
The pandemic spurred a rise in take-out and food deliveries but the younger generation (Generation Z and Millennials) is also influencing changes in the restaurant industry. According to the NRA report, young adults view take-out and delivery as their go-to food, with 72% of Millennials and 66% of Gen Z calling it “essential” to their lifestyle. Younger generations are also increasingly incorporating restaurant-prepared items into home-cooked meals, with more than 70% of those surveyed indicating an increased reliance on mixed meals. Eight in ten surveyed also indicate that they would buy a meal kit if one of their favorite restaurants offered it. This is compared to 47% of Gen Xers and 33% of Baby Boomers.
The NRA report also reveals other insightful consumer behaviors in terms of dining:
- About 80% Gen Z and Millennials say they would likely buy restaurant subscriptions and pre-paid house accounts for a set number of meals per month if offered by a favorite restaurant. Also, three out of every four individuals would prefer to open “house accounts” whereby they receive a discount for paying for food in advance.
- With the younger generation, alcohol-to-go has emerged as a selling point. Seventy percent of Gen Z adults and 62% of Millennials say the option of including alcohol with a take-out or delivery order would sway their decision in choosing one restaurant over a similar establishment. Only 12% of Baby Boomers agree.
- All generations prefer touchless order and payment transactions. Gen Z is also adapting to newer technology approaches, with 69% reporting that they would likely order through voice-enabled platforms using Alexa or Siri.
ISC’s RBTN Insurance Program
Integrated Specialty Coverages, LLC RBTN program provides comprehensive Liability and Property insurance coverage to a broad appetite of eligible risks, including restaurants with and without entertainment, bars and taverns, craft beer, cigar bars, karaoke bars, rooftop bars, ultra-lounges, sports bars without entertainment, wine bars, billiard halls, and liquor stores. Our footprint is national (excluding Florida, New Mexico, and Alaska) and is written with a carrier with an “A” rating.
Brokers can submit a completed supplemental application to email@example.com. Once the submission is received, ISC will send receipt confirmation within 24 hours.