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Restaurant Groups

Restaurant Groups

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Executive summary

The Chain Restaurants industry exhibited strong growth over the five years to 2022, despite immense volatility due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Early in the period, chains expanded as restaurant operators increasingly benefited from economies of scale. Meanwhile, as per capita disposable income increased and unemployment reached record lows, consumers spent more, giving rise to greater spending on food away from home, especially on more expensive sit-down meals. However, the pandemic's severe detriment to the overall food service sector, even including 2021's aggressive recovery instigated by vaccine distribution and take-out services, mitigated annualized growth overall. Thus, over the five years to 2022, industry revenue is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 1.4% to $50.9 billion, including a projected increase of 13.5% in 2022 as the pandemic recedes.
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Each report includes:

industry revenue;

industry profit;

industry margin;

industry employment;

industry major players;

industry key external drivers;

industry product & structure segmentation;

industry key trends;

industry Life Cycle;

industry Geographic Breakdown;

industry Key Success Factors;

industry Key statistics for previous years;

forecast of industry Key statistics for the next 5 years;

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Reference Wordlist

High barriers to entry mean that new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an industry.

Compares the amount of money spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with that spent on labor.
IBISWorld uses the ratio of depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every $1 of labor.

The dollar figures in the Key Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as the base year. This removes the impact of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the "real" growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ implicit GDP price deflator.

Spending on industry goods and services within the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry revenue, and then subtracting exports.

The number of permanent, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees, working proprietors, partners, managers and executives within the industry.

Colloquial Terminology

The average amount of money spent per check at an industry establishment.

Restaurants owned and directly operated by a single company.

A retail measure used to assess the true performance of retail outlets by taking out the effect of new store openings and only examining the sales growth of existing stores.

Self-service restaurants offering higher quality offerings, sometimes prepared to order, at a higher price point than traditional quick-service restaurants.

Restaurants with concepts sold to the individual operator. Franchisees receive ordering, marketing, training and financial and management support from the franchiser.


Overall, the industry is characterized by massive part-time employment, a high establishment to operator ratio and heavy external competition. Sit-down restaurants distinguish themselves with table service, necessitating significant labor to match demand spikes. Unlike in many large industries, labor is often handled on the local level through chains permitting outside ownership of one or more restaurants. The franchise model employed by numerous operators then gives those franchisees the ability to respond to changing markets, while technology connects stores back to the benefits of a parent chain's digital ordering system, unified marketing and negotiation leverage. Finally, despite improvements in efficiency keeping menu prices low, cost-conscious consumers are increasingly eating from a buffet of food alternatives: from meal kit delivery to fast-casual chains, today's diners have many options to chew on.

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