New York City Restaurant Trends 2022: Annual Industry Report

  • The top New York City restaurant trends for 2022
  • Dozens of stats and industry insights
  • Stories from real restaurant owners in NYC
  • Strategies and benchmarks for restaurant recovery
Red booklet with a graphic of the New York City skyline and the title

The COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City’s restaurant industry hard with some of the longest and most extensive dining room closures in the country. To help New York City operators make sense of how the industry has changed and what recovery might look like, we’ve put together a comprehensive report on New York City restaurant trends for 2022.

To uncover the latest data on New York City restaurants, we interviewed and surveyed full service restaurant owners, presidents, CEOs, and general managers from across the city. We then compared this data to our 2020 New York City State of Restaurants Report to uncover what’s changed, how restaurants have navigated the pandemic, and what recovery looks like in the year ahead.

Our 2022 New York City State of Restaurants Report includes:

  • Dozens of stats on NYC’s restaurant industry
  • First-hand stories from real restaurant owners in NYC
  • Benchmarks for restaurant recovery

Below, you’ll find a snippet of the top New York City restaurant trends for 2022. To dive deeper into these trends download our free 2022 New York State of Restaurants Report.

The pandemic has dealt a major blow to New York City’s restaurant industry and dramatically altered the way many operators run their businesses. But true to form, New York City restaurateurs have shown great resilience in the face of these challenges. Now, many operators have their eyes on the future and are looking for ways to adapt to the new industry landscape.

Here are three New York City restaurant trends to keep an eye on in 2022.

The Great Server Shortage

Small businesses across the U.S. are facing an unprecedented labor shortage and restaurants in New York City are no exception. Our NYC restaurant report uncovered that 94% of New York City restaurant operators are currently short at least one staff position, while 51% say they are short 3-6 positions.

Of these positions, server roles appear to be the toughest to fill with 43% of New York City operators saying they have a shortage of wait staff. This is a major shift from 2019, when managers and line cooks were in the highest demand.

The server shortage is unlikely to end anytime soon, which means New York City restaurants will have to get creative to attract new staff in 2022. One approach to hiring that is quickly becoming one of the top NYC restaurant trends is using social media instead of more traditional job boards. In fact, our NYC restaurant report found that 51% of operators currently use social media as their primary recruitment channel.

The Off-Premise Pivot Pays Off

New Yorkers were early adopters of takeout and delivery apps, which means many restaurants had this technology in place prior to the pandemic. However, early dining room closures pushed the demand for takeout and delivery into overdrive, causing 32% of operators to add additional online ordering platforms to their business..

But while third-party apps may dominate the takeout and delivery space, restaurants in New York City have also begun to embrace direct online ordering. Unlike their counterparts in Dallas and Los Angeles, restaurants in New York City were the most likely to use their own websites to take online orders. This is one of the New York City restaurant trends that’s likely to continue well into 2022 as operators look for more ways to reduce or eliminate pricey third-party commission fees. 

Loyalty Apps Key to Customer Retention

While New York City restaurants were ahead of the curve when it comes to online ordering, they’ve been a bit more hesitant to embrace loyalty programs. Of the New York City restaurants that do offer a loyalty program, 47% of those said they added it in the last one to two years, suggesting that the pandemic was a deciding factor.

But while the use of loyalty apps may be new at many restaurants, it’s a move that already seems to be paying off. New York City restaurants see the most loyalty program usage among their big-city counterparts, with around three-quarters of NYC restaurants seeing engagement rates at 51%+. A third (33%) of New York City restaurateurs also directly cited customer engagement as the biggest benefit of offering a loyalty program.

This high level of engagement may be due to the fact that most of these restaurants offer a mobile app option for their reward program. Mobile loyalty apps is one of the NYC restaurant trends that operators should keep an eye on in 2022 as a way to boost customer retention and start turning more guests into regulars.

The above is just a brief peek at the dozens of insights found in our NYC restaurant report. To get even more New York City restaurant trends for 2022 download the full 2022 New York City State of Restaurants Report.

Wondering how full service restaurants in New York City compare to other U.S. restaurants? Download the complete 2022 State of Restaurants Report.

Restaurant Industry Trends 2022: The State of Restaurants Report
2022 State of Restaurants Report

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This study was conducted by Maru/Blue research firm on behalf of TouchBistro.

The results come from surveying over 500 full service restaurant owners, managers, and presidents/CEOs from across the U.S. Included in this number was an increased focus on three major cities: New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas. The research was conducted in November 2021.

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