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Restaurant Openings On The Rise, Record $1T In Sales Expected


Restaurant openings rose 6% nationally, with the industry overall poised to hit record annual sales of more than $1T. 

The 6% increase occurred from May 2023 to April 2024. The rise in that period was slightly slower than the annual growth from this time last year when openings were up 10%, RestaurantDive reported, citing data from Yelp

Restaurants focusing on desserts, such as Italian ice, shaved ice or specialty cupcakes, as well as pop-ups drove the increase in openings.

Dessert-focused openings increased 52% from May 2023 to April 2024 versus the same period the year prior. Pop-up shop openings increased 155%, fueled by a desire to test new food concepts with lower stakes and limited menus before rolling out a full menu. 

Although it's only June, it's already been a tumultuous year for those in the restaurant industry. Several major chains, including some familiar sit-down staples, have announced closures. Lauded independent restaurants in major cities across the country struggle with rising food and labor costs and the impact of hybrid work on foot traffic to once-bustling areas.

And yet, the National Restaurant Association predicted in February that 2024 will yield approximately $1.1T in annual sales for the nation's restaurants, a 5.4% increase year-over-year.

Those high sales might not trickle down to restaurateurs and their employees. A poll of association members found that only 27% of respondents expected to be more profitable in 2024 than they were last year, with high labor and food costs factoring into that calculation.