December 6

Restaurant Industry Insights — Ten Years Ahead

The pandemic took a toll on the restaurant industry coming into the ‘20s, but growth is forecasted over the next ten years. Here is what industry experts are saying.

2021 is coming to a close, and while I’m sure we could agree we had hoped to be on the other side of the pandemic by now, the reality is  — we’re in for a long haul. On the bright side, the industry as a whole is slowly recovering. Though we have lost many beloved and iconic restaurants along the way, we should be proud and grateful to say we’re still here. As 2021 comes to an end, let’s keep our eyes on the future of an industry that contributes so much to our culture. So, as another year wraps up — here’s what economic reports predict for the next decade in the hospitality industry. There’s a lot to look forward to and predictions that suggest the growing worth of a career in hospitality.

Industry Job Growth
A more significant industry is on the horizon as typical year after year job growth is coupled with recovery from the pandemic and increased consumer demands. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that Leisure and Hospitality will be the fastest growing industries among all other sectors and account for seven out of twenty fastest-growing sectors by 2030. On the other hand, the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) recent report, Restaurant Industry 2030, claims that the industry will see moderate growth, with a 0.7% increase a year.

When looking at the NRA’s report — the industry’s job growth forecasted by 2030 will be significant compared to the end of the last decade. The NRA suggests that by 2030, there will be 17.2 million jobs in the restaurant industry, compared to 15.1 million from 2018. The increased jobs forecast comes with a declining workforce population as more baby boomers retire, creating an even tighter labor market in the years to come.

Industry Occupational Growth
Looking deeper at job growth within the industry, it seems restaurant-related employment will grow faster than other occupations. Based on the BLS Occupational Handbook, between 2020-2030, the employment growth rate of servers is projected at 20%, cooks at 26%, and bartenders at 32%. These percentages are more significant than the growth average of all other occupations, typically at 8%.

The occupational forecasts over the next decade shine brightly on our industry as a whole, and while the pandemic exposed weak spots — the industry will only get stronger and better. The issue will be bringing in and keeping quality workers to fill the increased occupational demand.  Forward-thinking restaurants keeping an open mind regarding the sustainability of their employment and retention models will lead the industry’s future.

Industry Competition
More efficient restaurant models will be paramount to keeping up with the competition expected by 2030. This will increase dependence on new technology that allows restaurants to streamline their operations to keep costs low and increase customer engagement. The NRA’s Restaurant Industry 2030 report projected sales to reach $1.2 trillion. That is way more than the $659 billion in sales reported in 2020 and even the $833 billion reported in 2018 before the pandemic disrupted the industry. The increase in consumer demand will only further the pain points of a competitive labor market and consumer market.

By 2030, we expect that staffing in the restaurant industry will change to meet the tight labor market and high competition — which is why we thought outside the box of traditional staffing models when we created Poached Shifts. With Poached Shifts, employers no longer need to worry about spending high costs and long hours trying to fill a position, only to turn around a month later and do it again.

To meet the needs of today and the future, Poached Shifts will allow employers to only think about the positions they have available – and we’ll fill them with our network of contract hospitality workers. This new employment modal works in favor of workers as well. As more workers become independent contractors, they gain more control over their schedules, income, and experience and have a stronger pull on the market as they influence the value proposition in pay.

The last two years have had a startling influence on the future of our industry. Still, we’re finally easing into that elusive “new normal,” and there’s actually a lot for us to look forward to as an industry — we’re excited to be here.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


You may also like

Hire Faster, Hire Better.