Get set to go Jetson

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry 2030 report predicts a changing workforce, new restaurant formats and hyperlocal regulations.
2030 mockup

Restaurant industry sales are expected to hit $1.2 trillion by 2030, and restaurants will employ an additional 2 million people (up from the 15.3 million they employ now). In the same time frame, the number of teens in the labor force will hit its lowest point in 65 years—working older adults will outnumber them 3 to 1. (Luckily, older adults will want to keep working.)

Those are a few of many insights in the new National Restaurant Association report that projects what the restaurant industry might look like by 2030. The only constants as we look ahead are the speed of change in the industry and hypercompetition as food becomes accessible 24/7 through everything from virtual restaurants and online retail giants to street food stalls and food halls.

The report delivers predictions in three areas:

Landscape: A big picture look at where the economy, workforce and consumer demographics are headed based on government statistics and trend forecasting.

Pulse check: The results from our survey of restaurant industry experts who weighed in on the most and least likely developments in the next 10 years in 13 business categories. Included: food and menu, technology and data, training and development, government oversight, and financing.

Disruptors: Professional futurists suggest possible developments that have the potential to disrupt the way we do business. Driverless cars, artificial intelligence, voice recognition and DNA-customized diets are just a few with implications to consider.

The report is designed to get conversations started and to suggest actionable insights for the future. It can help you plan ahead to take advantage of upcoming trends, developments, demographic changes and challenges coming down the pike. It also identifies 10 sure things by 2030:

1. The definition of “restaurant” will change.

2. Off-premise opportunities will drive industry growth.

3. Margin pressures will continue.

4. Data is and will continue to be king.

5. Restaurants will serve—and employ—a different demographic.

6. Recruitment, retention and training will remain top priorities.

7. Technology will drive tremendous advances in food safety, food sourcing and sustainability.

8. Government will be a greater factor in everything operators do.

9. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword.

10. Restaurants will continue to bring people together.

As society’s pace and technology adoption speeds up, it’s even more important for restaurants to prepare for what’s ahead. Download the full Restaurant Industry 2030 report today at Restaurant.org/Restaurants2030. The report was prepared in partnership with American Express and Nestlé Professional.

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