Central Pennsylvania Restaurant Industry Facts
Statistics released by the National Restaurant Association show that there are approximately 1 million restaurant locations in the United States. This is an increase of approximately 100,000 locations over the last 10 years. Restaurant industry sales currently make up approximately 4% of the national GDP and 10% of the national workforce. The National Restaurant Association is predicting that the restaurant workforce is likely to reach 15.7 million over the next decade.
In the state of Pennsylvania, there are 25,613 restaurants employing approximately 557,100 individuals. Restaurant sales totaled $18.8 billion. Every one million dollars spent in the restaurant industry generates an additional 27.2 jobs in the state. By 2025, it is likely that Pennsylvania's restaurant industry will employ approximately 580,000 (a 4.0% job growth).
central pennsylvania restaurant industry
There are 5,151 restaurant locations in Central Pennsylvania (Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York Counties), meaning that 20.1% of all Pennsylvania restaurants are located in Central PA. These restaurants employ just under 76,000 individuals (13.6% of Pennsylvania restaurant employment) and generate $3.5 billion in sales (18.6% of Pennsylvania restaurant sales).
The graph above displays the total number of restaurants and the total number of restaurant employees within the nine Central Pennsylvania Counties.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner - consumer expenditures
Consumer expenditures for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are broken down into two categories: spending at full service restaurants and spending at fast food restaurants. These two classifications are defined as follows:
- Fast Food - includes fast food restaurants (restaurants that emphasize speed of service, i.e. McDonalds, Pizza Hut where ordering is done from a counter and diners typically carry their own food from the counter to a seat of their choice) and fast casual restaurants (restaurants that are primarily chain restaurants such as Chipolte and Panera Bread) where more of the food is prepared at the restaurant, the quality of food and prices may be higher than a conventional fast food restaurant).
- Full Service Restaurant- includes casual dining restaurants (a restaurant that serves modestly priced foods in a casual atmosphere with table service), family-style restaurants (casual dining restaurants where food is served on platters and diners serve themselves), fine dining (restaurants with higher quality foods, dedicated meal courses, staff is formerly dressed, and food portions that are visually appealing), among other types of restaurants that typically offer table service and may serve alcohol.
Central Pennsylvanians spend more on dinner versus lunch or breakfast. Just under half of the restaurant sales in the area are spent for dinner. Central Pennsylvanians spend more money for dinner at full service restaurants than they do for dinner at a fast food restaurant. Approximately 66.4% of total dinner sales (dollars spent for dinner at fast food restaurants plus dollars spent for dinner at full service restaurants) are spent in full service restaurants. However, area residents prefer to eat fast food for breakfast, lunch or a snack rather than eating at a full service restaurant: 57.3% of total breakfast sales are in fast food restaurants | 55.2% of lunch sales are in fast food restaurants | 78.3% of snack sales are in fast food restaurants.
Restaurant Spending Breakdown:
- Snack Sales at Restaurants - $167.1 million
- Breakfast Sales at Restaurants - $253.9 million
- Lunch Sales at Restaurants - $426.3 million
- Dinner Sales at Restaurants - $1.3 billion
The heat map above displays the 2015 total restaurant spending for dinner at full service restaurants by Central Pennsylvania zip codes.
Alcoholic beverage sales at full service restaurants
Alcoholic beverage sales make up 4.7% of the total restaurant sales in Central Pennsylvania. Approximately 44.9% of alcoholic beverage sales at full service restaurants are from beer, 30.6% are from other alcoholic beverages, and 24.5% are from wine sales. Out of the nine Central Pennsylvania counties, Dauphin County has the lowest percentage of restaurant sales from alcoholic beverages. Only about 3.8% of Dauphin County's restaurant sales are from alcohol. Perry County has the highest percentage of restaurant sales from alcoholic beverages (9.6%), while Lancaster County has the highest total of alcoholic beverage sales in full service restaurants ($37.3 million).
weekend vs. weekday
Most Central Pennsylvanians prefer to visit fast food restaurants during the week while visiting full service restaurants during the weekends. 48.8% of the total Central Pennsylvania population have visited a fast food restaurant at least once on a weekday over the last 6 months versus 37.1% who visited a fast food restaurant at least once on a weekend over the last 6 months. 34.6% of the total Central Pennsylvania population have visited a full service restaurant at least once on a weekend day over the last 6 months versus the 26.6% who visited a full service restaurant on a week day. Of the Central Pennsylvania counties, Adams County has the highest percentage of population who visited a fast food restaurant during the week (51.1%) and the highest percentage of population that visited a full service restaurant during the weekend (36.2%).
eat-in, drive thru, pick up, or delivery Statistics
- 38.7% of the Central Pennsylvania population have gone through a drive thru at a restaurant at least once in the past 6 months
- 29.5% of the population chose to dine-in a restaurant at least once in the past 6 months
- 15.6% of the population ordered food and picked it up at a restaurant at least once in the past 6 months
- 6.2% of the population had food delivered from a restaurant at least once in the past 6 months