In this blog post, Sean Hughes, Partner at CRS Insurance Brokerage, and board member of the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, discusses the most recent findings from the 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry report. He will also share opportunities, trends, and crucial insurance insights to help ensure continued success for Colorado restaurants.


Current State of the Restaurant Industry Nationwide:

Key findings reveal a dynamic landscape within the foodservice industry according to the 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report. With sales projected to reach a staggering $1 trillion, restaurants are gearing up for expansion, with an estimated 200,000 new jobs anticipated by year-end, contributing to a total industry employment of 15.7 million. However, amidst this growth, competition looms large, with 45% of operators bracing for intensified rivalry compared to the previous year. Rising costs pose significant challenges, as 98% of operators cite elevated labor costs and 97% identify increased food expenses as pressing concerns.


Consumer spending sentiment remains cautious, with nearly half adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to spending. Nevertheless, the allure of dining out persists, with nine in ten adults enjoying patronizing restaurants. For consumers, dining out offers an unmatched experience, allowing them to savor flavors and sensations that are difficult to replicate at home, emphasizing the enduring appeal of the restaurant experience.


Trends Shaping the Restaurant Industry in Colorado:

Restaurants are a driving force in Colorado’s economy with 12,884 eating and drinking places across the state. In 2022, Colorado’s restaurant industry employed 303,500 restaurant and foodservice workers. With a growth rate of 12.5%, that number is projected to increase to 341,500 by 2030. A thriving restaurant industry benefits the entire Colorado economy as every additional dollar spent in Colorado’s restaurants contributes $2.21 to the state economy and every additional $1 million spent in Colorado’s restaurants generates 16.8 jobs in the state economy.


While many costs continue to increase for Colorado restaurants, such as food costs and labor, food service packaging costs have decreased in the last year. Restaurants focused on revenue-generating to-go and catering programs can add to the bottom-line sustainability. Using creative marketing strategies, restaurants can also convert dine-away customers into dine-in customers and using third-party delivery apps allows restaurants to reach a broader audience. Turnover is still remarkably high as 70% of restaurants have job openings that are hard to fill while 45% say they need more employees to support customer demand.


These numbers highlight the importance of Colorado’s restaurant industry to the state’s overall economic well-being and CRS Insurance Brokerage is here to ensure restaurants have protection from threats and risks such as employee liability and safety concerns as well as expertise on worker’s compensation claims management and employment practices for claims.


Mitigating Risks in the Restaurant Industry:

Amidst the varied challenges the industry faces, the importance of protecting your restaurant from threats and risks cannot be overstated. Understanding critical coverages such as Business Income and Power Outage that can play a key role in a property loss as well as understanding how the general liability is being rated (i.e., food and liquor sales or square footage) can help you ensure you have the best coverage in the event of a claim and that your rating strategy delivers the best pricing available in the insurance marketplace. CRS Insurance Brokerage specializes in providing comprehensive coverage tailored to the unique needs of restaurant owners. From mitigating property damage to handling employment-related claims, our team offers expertise in all lines of coverage required for sustained success.


CRS helps take the worry out of your day-to-day operations so you can focus on creating an amazing customer experience. We do this by engaging in an in-depth risk analysis and customizing an insurance program that addresses your specific needs. The team at CRS has the necessary expertise to identify risk, place proper coverage, help you proactively mitigate claims through our loss control services, and advocate for you through the claims process when they do arise.


Contact us today for personalized assistance and guidance on developing proactive risk management strategies and leveraging insurance solutions to safeguard your business.