In the wake of dining room closures, rising rent prices, and a massive labor shortage, Los Angeles’ restaurant industry has been turned almost entirely upside down. To help restaurateurs make sense of these changes and get their businesses back on track, we’ve put together an extensive report on Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2022.
To create our LA restaurant report, we surveyed restaurant owners, presidents, CEOs, and general managers from across the city. We also interviewed local restaurateurs to get a better idea of the personal stories and struggles behind the numbers.
Inside our 2022 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report, you’ll find…
- Dozens of stats industry insights
- First-hand accounts from real restaurant owners in LA
- Tools, technology, and strategies for restaurant recovery
Continue reading for a preview of our findings and further insight into the top Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2022. You can also download the full 2022 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report for a deeper dive into the LA restaurant trends listed below.
Los Angeles Restaurant Trends 2022
After navigating repeated dining room closures and shifting safety protocols, here are some of the top trends LA restaurateurs can anticipate in the year ahead.
The Recruitment & Retention Dilemma
Back in 2019, our LA restaurant report found that the city seemed to escape the worst of the nationwide labor shortage. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of restaurants in Los Angeles reported no regular labor shortages at the time.
Now, the pandemic has radically altered Los Angeles’ labor pool, and finding (and keeping) staff is now a top concern for restaurants. In fact, 37% of Los Angeles restaurants are currently short 3-4 positions and an additional 23% report a shortage of 5-6 positions.
And even for restaurants that can find workers, convincing them to stay is yet another hurdle. With an employee turnover rate of 24% – well above its peers in New York City and Dallas – employee recruitment and retention will be a top concern for Los Angeles restaurateurs in 2022.
Contactless Payments Are Here to Stay
Like many restaurateurs across the U.S., operators in Los Angeles have historically been hesitant to adopt contactless payments. In 2019, 89% of restaurants in Los Angeles still accepted cash.
However, the pandemic proved to be a major tipping point in the use of contactless payments in Los Angeles. In fact, 68% of operators said they introduced QR code payments during the pandemic, while 51% added mobile pay. As diners become increasingly comfortable using contactless payments, this technology is guaranteed to be one of the top LA restaurant trends for 2022.
Reservations Tech Persists
Unsurprisingly, our 2022 State of Restaurants Report found that reservations were largely down across the U.S. However, in Los Angeles, reservation technology has remained popular among operators and diners.
Of the Los Angeles restaurants that said they do take reservations, 69% reported using a reservation management platform to manage bookings (up from 46% in 2019), and a further 22% said they planned to start using a reservation management platform. As diners slowly return to dining out, this technology can help restaurants in Los Angeles manage larger bookings and drive greater revenue from indoor dining.
To get even more Los Angeles restaurant trends for 2022 download the full 2022 Los Angeles State of Restaurants Report.
Wondering how restaurants in Los Angeles compare to their peers across the U.S.? Download the complete 2022 State of Restaurants Report.
Get the top trends and insights with our 2023 restaurant industry report.
This study was conducted by Maru/Blue research firm on behalf of TouchBistro.
The results come from surveying over 500 full service restaurant owners, managers, and presidents/CEOs from across the U.S. Included in this number was an increased focus on three major cities: New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas. The research was conducted in November 2021.