Yelp data shows that while consumers and restaurants are continuing to feel the impact of the industry’s labor shortage, many restaurants are also experiencing an increase in reservations, as well as high requests for both indoor and outdoor dining. Yet, even as on-premise dining picks up, takeout demand remains high. Yelp data also reveals that experience-focused dining is seeing a pop in new business openings as people look to find more unique dining options when they do go out.
Across the restaurant industry, the ongoing labor shortage continues to be a top challenge facing restaurants. Yelp data shows that in Q1 2022, consumers mentioned long waits (23%) and short staffing (229%) more in reviews than in Q1 of the previous year.
To address this industry wide challenge, many restaurants have continued to adjust their operating hours, menu options, available tables and more. As Americans are increasingly returning to on-premise dining at restaurants with more than 13 million diners seated via Yelp* in Q1 2022, up 48% compared to Q1 2021, some have embraced technologies, like Yelp Guest Manager, to more easily handle front-of-house operations — automating check-in, managing waitlists and contacting diners — to allow hosts to support other areas of the business. By automating specific steps in the dining experience, the savings on labor can be re-distributed in other ways to the restaurant.
In addition to longer wait times, consumers are also experiencing near-record menu price inflation, and Yelp data reveals that consumers are conscious of these price changes. Review mentions of increased prices were up 25% in Q1 2022. Yet,many consumers are actually seeking out higher-priced dining experiences, which could mean that while conscious of inflation they want to spend their money on high quality experiences.