The just-released National Restaurant Association 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry report reveals that more than half of restaurant operators said it would be a year or more before business conditions return to normal. Food, labor, and occupancy costs are expected to remain elevated, and continue to impact restaurant profit margins in 2022.

Ninety-six percent of operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2021 – and these challenges will likely continue in 2022.

“The restaurant and foodservice industry has adapted and is carrying on with absolute resilience, so we’re optimistic about the path toward recovery in the coming year,” says Marvin Irby, interim president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association. “We still have work to do to ensure that those operators struggling the most can survive.”

One key trend is that off-premises dining is enhanced by improved technology. Technological advances are becoming table stakes for this long-term business channel, with more than eight in 10 operators saying the use of technology provides a competitive advantage, and a good proportion of operators plan to ramp up investments in technology this year.

Many operators will devote their resources to online or app ordering, reservations, mobile payment, or delivery management, in addition to back-of-the-house technology. This is validated by a large number of consumers preferring the use of technology where it doesn’t diminish hospitality. Of note, 54% of adults say purchasing takeout or delivery food is essential to the way they live, including 72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z adults.