The pandemic era was a difficult time for restaurant owner-operators, who showed resilience and ingenuity when it came to new regulations and expectations. And while a relative return to normalcy is finally re-energizing the industry, it has been interesting to watch what creative strategies and tools have been useful to keep around post-COVID.
Yelp’s State of the Restaurant Industry Report 2023 has uncovered huge growth in one Covid-related venture: pop-up restaurants. “…new pop-up restaurants grew by a whopping 105% from April 2022 to March 2023,” Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) reported. The fact that some of these pop-up experiences generated enough interest to become brick-and-mortar locations speaks to another excited finding in the Yelp report: “the restaurant industry overall experienced a 10% gain in new business openings from April 2022 to March 2023.”
Significant growth in new projects within only a year of “normal operations” not only suggests that the restaurant industry is healthy again, but it also indicates that consumers—specifically diners—are eating out regularly and they are hungry for new and unique experiences. “At this point, consumers seem willing to try new restaurant concepts, as Yelp’s data finds that restaurant spending was up 3% year-over-year,” states the report. Yelp’s report included the biggest growth by dining category, which follows many of National Restaurant Consultants’ (NRC) trend predictions:
“These are the biggest growth segments for new restaurant openings in the U.S. in the past year:
Chicken Shop, 28%
Food stands, 23%
Breakfast and brunch, 20%
“National Restaurant Consultants (NRC) receives weekly inquiries from creative entrepreneurs all over the country, sharing their own personal visions for success. NRC urges all new restauranteurs and current owners with expansion ideas to take the necessary time to complete a well thought-out business plan with financial forecasts,” Notes Richard Weil, owner and proprietor of NRC.
A return to normal is good news for the industry. Excitement and interest from consumers eager for new concepts is even better. National Restaurant Consultants has helped launch start-up restaurants across the country, and your amazing new idea or expansion plans could be exactly what this primed group of dining guests is looking for. Contact a restaurant consultant today to get your restaurant project off the ground.