Automation, lowering utility costs on the menu as restaurants grapple with multiple challenges

More than 90% of restaurant operators report higher operating costs since the pandemic, and 80% report higher utility costs, according to the National Restaurant Association. With profitability down from pre-pandemic levels, operators expect business conditions to remain challenging. One area potentially impacting NAFEM members is technology. A quarter of operators say they are incorporating more technology into their restaurants, especially as two of three also report being understaffed. The association surveyed 4,200 restaurant operators in July and August to inform its Restaurant Business Conditions Report.