Offering a data-driven deep dive into the current state of the independent restaurant industry, the James Beard Foundation® has pulled back the curtain on the findings of its 2023 Annual Industry Report.
“While we are encouraged to see the beginning of a return to pre-pandemic dining trends, we recognize the many headwinds restaurant owners and operators continue to face,” says Clare Reichenbach, Chief Executive Officer. “As the country’s leading culinary nonprofit in support of the independent restaurant industry, the James Beard Foundation will continue to leverage its unique position within the chef-operator community to advance our recently announced policy priorities and mobilize for meaningful change on behalf of a more equitable and sustainable food culture.”
As outlined in its 2023 State of the Industry report, the independent restaurant industry appears to have bounced back following tremendous challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Despite these increases, economic-driven external and internal challenges are proving margins are tighter than ever before, the Foundation reports, with 53 percent of respondents reporting lower profits in 2023. Restaurant owners and operators expect to see much of the same in 2024, the report noted, largely due to increasing food and labor costs and decreased consumer spending due to economic inflation.
Following a recent announcement of policy priorities through 2028, the organization will work to advocate for policies that encourage a more equitable and sustainable food system for the independent restaurant industry and beyond. The foundation also wields its programs to provide industry professionals with critical tools, resources, and training to help create equitable, safe, and supportive working environments that are also financially successful.
“At the James Beard Foundation, we continue to be inspired by the independent restaurant industry’s fierce resilience and commitment to good food, both on and off the plate,” says Dr. Anne E. McBride, Vice President of Programs. “In turn, it is our responsibility to provide the programs and resources that drive sustainable, systemic change on both the local and national level so that we can transform independent restaurant jobs into long and healthy food and beverage industry careers.”
Dive deeper into this comprehensive report here.
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