Los Angeles Restaurant Trends: 2024 Industry Report

Cover of the 2024 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report.

  • The top Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2024
  • Dozens of industry stats and insights
  • First-hand accounts from real restaurant owners in LA
  • Tools, strategies, and tips for optimizing operations

After a bumpy few years, Los Angeles restaurants are once again seeing full dining rooms and bustling patios. But despite the steady flow of customers, operators in Los Angeles are still contending with major challenges, such as inflation and some of the highest labor costs in the country. To help restaurateurs understand how their peers are navigating these challenges and the solutions they’re employing, we’ve put together an extensive report on the biggest Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2024.

To create our LA restaurant report, we surveyed restaurant owners, CEOs, general managers, and area managers from across the city. We also interviewed local ​​restaurateurs to get a better idea of the personal stories behind the numbers. 

The result is a goldmine of industry stats and insights, including:

  • A breakdown of the financial health of Los Angeles restaurants
  • A review of staffing challenges, including rising costs
  • The latest food cost data
  • Top technology trends for the year ahead, including AI and automation
  • And more!

Continue reading for a preview of our findings and further insight into the top Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2024. You can also download the full 2024 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report for a deeper dive into the LA restaurant trends listed below.

Los Angeles Restaurant Trends 2024

Here are three of the top Los Angeles restaurant trends to keep an eye on in 2024.

Labor Costs a Looming Concern

Much like every other restaurateur across the country, inventory costs were the number one source of financial strain for Los Angeles operators. But while 49% said that high food costs were their biggest concern, labor costs were not all that far behind.

A quarter (25%) of operators in Los Angeles said that the cost of labor was their biggest source of financial strain, which was a bigger proportion than in any other city. This is likely due to the fact that California has some of the highest minimum wage rates in the country and West Hollywood actually has the highest minimum wage in the nation. With labor costs expected to continue going up, cost saving tools, such as staff scheduling software that can optimize schedules, is sure to be one of the top Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2024.

Plant-Based is on the Menu

Like their peers across the country, many operators in LA reported raising menu prices in the past year. However, the response to these menu price increases seems to be having the opposite impact on the bottom line. In response to price increases, 37% of Los Angeles operators reported that fewer customers are visiting during the week and 37% reported that customers are also spending less overall.

With menu price increases no longer a silver bullet, one way to compensate for these changes in spending habits may be to offer in-demand food that customers are willing to pay a premium

for, such as vegan dishes. In fact, 37% of operators in Los Angeles said they planned to add more vegan, plant-based options in the next six months and 35% said they planned

to add more locally sourced ingredients. This shift to more local, plant-based products is not only expected to be one of the bigger restaurant trends in LA, but also across the U.S.

Cautious Optimism About AI

Despite how new the technology is, our LA restaurant report found that many of the city’s operators have already begun experimenting with AI in their businesses. 82% of Los Angeles restaurateurs report that they are currently using some form of AI in their business. Interestingly, optical character recognition – the digital conversion of typed, handwritten or printed text – proved to be the most popular form of AI at Los Angeles restaurants, with more than a third (38%) using the technology. And with a further 32% reportedly using AI chatbots and 30% using digital assistants, AI is poised to become one of the standout 2024 restaurant trends in LA.

The above is just a small preview of the dozens of insights found in our LA restaurant report. To get even more LA restaurant trends for the year ahead, download the full 2024 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report.

2024 State of Restaurant Report
2024 State of Restaurants Report

Get the top trends and insights with our 2024 restaurant industry report.

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Wondering how full service restaurants in LA compare to their peers across the U.S.? Download the full 2024 State of Restaurants Report.

This study was conducted by research firm Maru Matchbox on behalf of TouchBistro from June 15 to June 22, 2023. 

More than 600 full service restaurant owners, presidents, and area/general managers were surveyed across all 50 states, with an added focus on six key cities: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Miami. The statistically significant survey results are accurate 19 times out of 20. The detailed findings on this research by Maru Public Opinion are available at: Maru Public Opinion US.

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