10 surprising facts about the food service industry

elliott phenium food safety mascot in chef hat with tomato and carrot, pink background

There’s no question that the restaurant industry fuels a huge percentage of the US economy, so it might feel like you know all there is to know about the food service world. But are you and your employees fully clued-up on all the facts? From the complex make-up of a hamburger through to the staggering amount of people that are getting sick from foodborne illness each year, here are some sobering and somewhat surprising facts about the industry which we all know and love.

1. There are around 13 million restaurant staff in the US.
We may think that general employee numbers in the restaurant industry are on the wane. That’s definitely not the case. Despite the pandemic and the troubled economy, recent data shows that there are approximately 13 million restaurant staff in the US alone. 

2. The National Restaurant Association represents more than 380,000 restaurants
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest and most influential umbrella organization for food and beverage servers in the U.S., founded in 1919 and now representing more than 380,000 restaurants. Are you a member?

3. 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness
Did you know that every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases? Pretty staggering, especially when, with the right processes and technology it could easily be avoided

4. Olive Garden is the leading casual dining restaurant in the US
With sales of approximately 4.8 billion dollars in 2021 alone, this Italian chain is the biggest dining chain in the US. This eye-watering sales record is documented in the Statisita report

5. Fast food restaurants are unhealthier than they were 30 years ago.
According to recent research, and despite the growing demand for healthy options, fast-food restaurants are unhealthier than ever. From increases in portion size, through to additional sodium, most fast food restaurants are unhealthier now than they were 30 years ago.

6. Most Americans order their meat well done
Despite chefs favoring meat cooked on the rarer side, most Americans order their meat well done or medium well. In general they rarely order meat rare or medium rare.

7. There are more than 50 new food regulations which impact our industry
From adding sesame to the allergen list, to updates to the Food Safety Modernization Act, more than 50 new food regulations have been enacted or introduced in just the past five years.

8. A huge 10% of the nation’s workforce work in a restaurant
According to the National Restaurant Association 10% of the nation’s workforce is employed in a restaurant. Again, it could seem surprising given how many restaurants have closed during the pandemic, but it gives you a sense of the sheer scale of the industry.

9. A burger can be made from hundreds of different cows.
From minced beef to ground meats, they can be taken from lots of different animals. The meat is all processed together in huge batches, then chopped down to smaller amounts before being packaged.

10. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year
When it comes to bookings and footfall, Mother’s Day is officially the craziest day of the year for restaurants in the US

Recent posts