TouchBistro's Research on the State of Full Service Restaurants

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TouchBistro's Research on the State of Full Service Restaurants


A research report published today by TouchBistro on “The State of Full Service Restaurants in 2019” highlights benchmarks on key operational factors that affect profitability for FSR restaurant owners in the U.S. The benchmarks cover adoption of online ordering and mobile payments; staffing challenges, how to find and entice new hires, optimum employee qualities; inventory management and controlling food costs; cost of rent by geographical location and as a percent of sales; funding sources for opening a restaurant and unexpected expenses; POS and payment processor choices and utilization; and average profit margins.

While the complete report “The State of Full Service Restaurants in 2019” is available for free download by clicking here, following are findings of interest:

  • The report highlights the financial health of FSRs, noting that most have a healthy profit margin of 11 percent.
  • When it comes to managing costs, 58 percent of restaurateurs have challenges with managing their inventory, and most end up ordering higher quantities than required.
  • For the majority of restaurants surveyed, rent ranges from 5 to 10 percent of monthly sales.
  • Only half of those surveyed use reports from their POS systems to make decisions about employee scheduling, yet 70 percent experience labor shortages.
  • A significant number of restaurateurs (80 percent) are frustrated with their payment processors, citing a lack of pricing transparency as the primary concern.
  • FSRs that have implemented online ordering, using services such as Grubhub (41 percent), Uber Eats (39 percent), and DoorDash (32 percent), have seen an impressive increase in sales ranging from 11 to 20 percent.
  • Restaurants are diversifying the payment methods accepted, increasingly taking mobile payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, with 18% set up to accept all three.

This survey enabled TouchBistro to capture important feedback from restaurateurs around the U.S. and develop benchmarks that operators can use to make decisions about practices and technologies to implement that bring in more customers, drive loyalty, and increase profitability.

The study was conducted by research firm Maru Matchbox on behalf of TouchBistro in December 2018. Over 500 FSR owners, managers, and presidents/CEOs from across all U.S. states were interviewed, with a strong focus on six major cities: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, and San Antonio. Two-thirds of the restaurateurs interviewed have five years or more experience in a senior management role, 95 percent work at restaurants with greater than 20 seats, and 41 percent work at restaurants with 41-80 seats.

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