[Study] Restaurant Labor Management Trends & Stats for 2020

[Study] Restaurant Labor Management Trends & Stats for 2020
Dew Smith

By Dew Smith

The restaurant landscape is constantly changing, with new technologies revolutionizing the industry from the inside out—from operations management, to labor optimization, to guest experiences. Opening a restaurant—and keeping it open—poses a bigger challenge than ever in an industry flooded with technology, labor laws, and ever-changing consumer demands.

We surveyed over 1,000 restaurant managers, owners, and executives—and over 1,900 restaurant employees—to create The State of Restaurant Labor Management in 2020.

This study takes an inside look at the internal world of restaurant management, comparing the trends of 2019 to the expected challenges of 2020, to equip restaurateurs of all sizes with the insights they need to survive and thrive in the fast-paced restaurant environment.

It’s a fast changing market of what’s popular and what’s not, and you need to be adaptive with technology and social media use to improve your restaurant.
Download The State of Restaurant Labor Management in 2020

Here are just a few of the key findings you can expect to see in 2020.

Infographic of 7shifts' 2020 restaurant labor management study

Restaurant statistics for 2020

We surveyed thousands of restaurant owners, managers, and staff to uncover these key statistics and trends in the restaurant industry.

Labor management

  • 52% of restaurant owners, managers, and executives say that labor costs had a negative impact on their business in 2019
  • Over 50% of restaurateurs expect their labor costs tot increase in 2020, with 8% expecting a significant increase
  • 64% of restaurant managers and owners plan on increasing menu prices to balance out labor costs from minimum wage increases
  • High labor costs (26%) is the biggest expected challenge of 2020 for restaurant managers and owners

Employee engagement

  • The top employee engagement strategies for managers in 2020 are more team building activities (46%), more competitive pay (43%), and more professional development and training (38%).
  • The employee engagement strategies restaurant staff want are an increase in pay (86%), more team-building activities (58%), and more professional development and training (50%).
  • 47% of restaurants were negatively affected by employee turnover in 2019, with less than a third of restaurateurs reporting that turnover had no impact on their business.
  • Over 35% of employees feel that they don’t receive enough positive recognition at work


  • Lowering operational costs is the third-highest goal for restaurateurs in 2020 (14%)
  • The top food trends restaurants will be exploring in 2020 are vegan and plant-based options (10%), local ingredients (6%), and gluten-free options (3%).
  • Of 40% of restaurants that plan to expand in 2020, 58% plan to open one new location, 23% plan to open two, and 19% plan to open three or more.


  • 42% of restaurateurs don’t plan on adding or changing any technology in their restaurant
  • Nearly 20% of restaurateurs plan on updating their POS system in 2020
  • 18% of restaurateurs will search for new marketing technology in 2020
  • 12% of restaurateurs plan on exploring new third-party delivery technology in 2020
  • 65% of restaurant employees are very satisfied with their workplace technology
  • Over 60% of restaurant staff want to communicate with managers through text or 7shifts chat


Get the statistics and insights you need to conquer the restaurant industry in 2020 from The State of Restaurant Labor Management in 2020.

Download the study

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Dew Smith
Dew Smith

Hey! I'm Dew, the former Brand Strategist. I cultivated 7shifts' social and content garden, and I looked for ways to grow our network of restaurateurs, local talent, and tech companies.