Restaurant365’s Annual State of the Industry Survey Shows Operators Expecting Up to 5% Labor Cost Increase in 2024

R365 survey shows restaurants are planning investments in AI sales forecasting, back-of-house technology, and marketing and sales tools.

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Restaurant365, the leading all-in-one restaurant enterprise management platform, today released findings from its annual State of the Industry Customer Survey. Restaurant operators representing nearly 5,500 QSR, fast casual, casual dining, and fine dining locations across the nation shared their top challenges and opportunities for 2023 and 2024 alongside plans for investment in AI, marketing and sales, and workforce tools, programs, and benefits.

2023 Sentiments

Food and labor costs continued to increase in 2023, although slower than in recent years, according to survey data. Of the more than 80% of respondents who said food costs rose over the past year, more than half said it was in the 1% to 5% range. Last year, R365 customers said food costs rose about 10% while labor climbed approximately 9%. Of the more than 89% of respondents who said labor costs grew in 2023, over half said it was in the 1% to 5% range. As the increases pressured margins, operators worked tirelessly to drive sales and efficiencies to offer customers fantastic experiences while supporting growth.

“Restaurant operators continue to show resilience and creativity as they find new ways to move their restaurants forward,” said Restaurant365 CEO and Co-Founder Tony Smith. “We’re seeing continued focus on the guest experience and a heavier focus on overall business operations. Expanding the use of integrated technology to drive efficiency, cost savings, and growth have propelled many restaurants throughout the year.”

On a positive note for consumers, menu price inflation appears to be slowing, with 61% of respondents planning price increases in 2024, well below the 82% who said they planned to increase prices in 2023.