Survey reveals operators’ pain points

Restaurant decision-makers cite today’s top business challenges.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Results of a nationwide survey of restaurant decision-makers reveal the biggest challenges and opportunities operators face today. The survey, conducted by foodservice distributor US Foods, polled 500 independent operators to gauge their outlook on critical business issues.

It’s no surprise that hiring, training or managing staff was named as the greatest source of stress. Thirty-five percent of respondents currently have job openings that are proving difficult to fill, and 49% expressed concern about the ongoing labor shortage in the industry. Additionally, only 59% felt confident in hiring skilled team members. Toward that end, 30% are creating more robust training programs.

Operators also feel that attracting new customers has gotten harder in the past year. Marketing departments are taking a bigger chunk out of their budgets to promote their restaurants, with 75% offering more specials, 68% spending more on digital advertising and 67% hosting more events.

Food waste is another pain point for operators, but most are falling short in solving the problem. According to the survey, 58% are tracking some things related to food waste, but only 30% have a formal process in place to meet their goals.

Although half of respondents think technology is a way to address food waste, manage staff and drive traffic, only 33% are putting tech to use.

The survey was done under the auspices of US Foods’ Check Business Tools, which aims to help foodservice operators manage top operating challenges with technological solutions.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.


More from our partners