Last year, our annual New York City State of Restaurants Report examined the immediate fallout from the pandemic and looked at some of the biggest New York City restaurant trends. We found that while there were some signs of recovery, operators across the city were still contending with the impact of this unprecedented global event.
After a year of navigating this new industry landscape and adapting to changing consumer behaviors, we set out to find out how operators are faring. To uncover the latest data on New York City restaurants, we interviewed and surveyed full service restaurant owners, CEOs, general managers, and area managers from across the city. We then compared this data to last year’s New York City State of Restaurants Report to examine not only what has changed, but also what obstacles and opportunities lie ahead.
Our 2023 New York City State of Restaurants Report includes:
- Dozens of stats on NYC’s restaurant industry
- First-hand stories from real restaurant owners in NYC
- Data-backed predictions for the top 2023 NYC restaurant trends
Below, you’ll find a snippet of the top New York City restaurant trends for 2023. To dive deeper into these trends download our free 2023 New York State of Restaurants Report.
New York City Restaurant Trends 2023
With dining restrictions behind them, New York City’s restaurateurs saw sales start to recover in 2022. On average, New Yorkers said sales had returned to about 76% of pre-pandemic volume – a figure that’s in line with the national average.
However, the year also brought a new set of challenges, including rising food costs and an ongoing staffing shortage, which ultimately ate into profit margins. In fact, more than half (55%) of New York City restaurateurs now say that inventory is their biggest source of financial strain and, on average, the city’s operators reported spending a whopping 45% more on food costs than the year prior.
But true to form, New York City restaurateurs – including some of the owners of the 10 best restaurants in NYC – have shown great resilience in the face of these challenges. Now, many operators have their eyes on the future and are looking for ways to adapt to the new industry landscape.
Here are three New York City restaurant trends to keep an eye on in 2023.
Persistent Staffing Shortages
Small businesses across the U.S. continue to face an unprecedented labor shortage and restaurants in New York City are no exception. Our NYC restaurant report uncovered that 99% of New York City restaurant operators are currently short at least one staff position, with most operators saying they are short six staff members on average.
Of these positions, bartenders and managers appear to be the toughest to find. This is a bit of a shift from last year when bartenders and servers were in the highest demand.
Part of the reason for the ongoing staffing shortage may be due to the city’s high turnover rate of 33%. If operators in New York City want to successfully navigate the staffing crisis in the year ahead, focusing on retention will be essential.
Third-Party Apps Lose Favor
Takeout and delivery apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub have long been popular in New York City. And during the peak of the pandemic, these apps proved incredibly valuable.
However, as the pandemic-induced takeout boom has begun to subside, the off-premise landscape is starting to look a little bit different. 98% of restaurants in New York City still report using an online ordering system, but most are actually using multiple different platforms instead of just one solution. In fact, most restaurants in the city use an average of three different online ordering platforms.
This diversification of takeout and delivery platforms has caused fewer restaurants to rely on third-party apps and more restaurants to use direct online ordering systems. In fact, direct online ordering platforms are the most popular choice, with 44% of New York City operators using these systems – more than any third-party app. Meanwhile, the top three most popular delivery apps from last year (Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub) all saw their usage at NYC restaurants drop in 2022.
Loyalty Apps Key to Customer Retention
Back in 2021, our NYC restaurant report found that an increasing number of New York City restaurants started offering a loyalty program. By 2022, the number of restaurants in the city offering a loyalty program had jumped from just 49% to 66%.
Not only are more operators in New York City offering loyalty programs, but engagement is also relatively high, with the city’s operators reporting that, on average, 58% of their customers regularly engage with their loyalty programs.
This high level of engagement may be due to the fact that 54% of these restaurants offer a digital loyalty program that customers can access on their phones and other devices. With that figure in mind, digital reward programs are poised to become one of the NYC restaurant trends that operators should keep an eye on in 2023 if they want to boost customer retention and start turning more guests into regulars.
The above is just a brief peek at the dozens of insights found in our NYC restaurant report. To get even more New York City restaurant trends for 2023 download the full 2023 New York City State of Restaurants Report.
Wondering how full service restaurants in New York City compare to other U.S. restaurants? Download the complete 2023 State of Restaurants Report.
Get the top trends and insights with our 2023 restaurant industry report.
This study was conducted by research firm Maru Matchbox on behalf of TouchBistro in September 2022.
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, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Miami. Survey results are accurate +/- 4% 19 times out of 20. The detailed findings on this research by Maru Public Opinion are available at: Maru Public Opinion US.