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2022 Restaurant Trend Report


For the first time since COVID, restaurants in 2022 enjoyed a full year of things being back to normal. Or as close as they will be for a while.

Rising costs and staffing shortages, plus the looming threat of recession, have spelled a recovery less convincing than many hoped for in the dark days of 2020. Still, restaurants made it work. The last few years have demonstrated just how important restaurants are to the dining public, and that support spells a bright future in the long run.

To shed light on how the industry changed this year, BentoBox has gathered critical data from our 14,000+ worldwide restaurant partners. Here are a few of the trends that defined 2022.

Cost Pressures

When restaurateurs remember this year, one word will probably spring to mind: inflation. Though diners came back in droves, restaurants spent most of the year struggling to meet that demand amid rising costs in both food and labor.

Cost pressures rose across the board.

Percent of Restaurants Reporting Cost Increases Since 2020¹

Operating Costs


Food & Beverage Costs


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Labor Costs


Utility Costs


Occupancy Costs


Restaurant prices rose less than their costs.

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This year, the industry’s already-thin margins got even thinner. Restaurants raised menu prices, but it wasn’t enough to account for inflation on their food costs.

91% of restaurants increased prices this year, but 85% still report being less profitable than pre-pandemic.³

Workers were hard to find.

The restaurant industry found itself short-handed again this year. After job posts on BentoBox websites doubled last year, 2022 saw a second straight annual increase in recruitment efforts.

Worker wages have increased by 21% since 2020⁴, but 65% of restaurants still lack the employees to meet customer demand.⁵

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Restaurant Technology

Hesitant to pass soaring costs on to their customers, restaurants searched for ways to capture higher-margin revenue in 2022. Online technology helped: Restaurants that used email marketing and direct e-commerce were able to tap into repeat business with low acquisition costs.

Technology is helping restaurants address current challenges.


of restaurants have employed new technology to address labor gaps.⁶


of restaurants have employed new technology to address rising costs.⁷


Revenue from loyalty program promotions increased 74%

In total, repeat customers accounted for 35% of online orders — up from 29% in 2021.


Revenue from automated emails increased 8%

When restaurants started sending automated email promotions, total online orders increased by an average of 11% per week.


Revenue from digital gift cards increased 9%

The average online gift card sold for $120, but diners redeemed just 73% of that amount ($89). Restaurants kept the difference.

Diners felt good about the abundance of restaurant tech, with 71% saying it made their guest experience better.⁸ 

“For a long time in the restaurant business, technology was largely ignored until it came time to change the point-of-sale system. That has changed dramatically in recent years as consumer habits shifted and companies more desperate to find customers and employees turned to technology with increasing gusto.”

Jonathan Maze⁹
Editor-in-Chief, Restaurant Business
September 2022


Diner Discovery

When a diner checked out a new restaurant in 2022, there was a 75% chance their journey passed through the restaurant’s website. Why? Because diners preferred to discover new restaurants using search engines — which connect customers to restaurant websites — more than any other channel this year.

Diner Discovery in 2022

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Search Engines and Websites were the top two channels for finding new restaurants, outpacing Social Media and Third-Party Apps.

Nearly half of adult diners did not use third-party reservation platforms to discover new restaurants.

Google Maps drove more restaurant discovery than any other review platform in the industry.

Diners Discovered New Restaurants Using:

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Search Terms Varied by Age Group

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Older diners tended to search for restaurants with a clear idea of what they wanted. 

Younger diners were more flexible, favoring open-ended search queries that guided them to restaurants that met their needs. 

The restaurants that attracted these diners were the ones with great SEO and a strong media presence.

One in twenty visitors

to BentoBox restaurant home pages placed orders or made reservations.

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Online Ordering

During the pandemic, online ordering became an emergency lifeline even for restaurants that had never offered it before. In 2022, online ordering proved it had staying power. Diners continue to place orders, and restaurants continue to encourage higher-margin ordering through their websites instead of marketplaces.

BentoBox Online Ordering in 2022


18% increase

in restaurants offering direct online ordering

$33 million+

saved on third-party fees through online ordering¹⁰
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38% increase

in revenue per online catering order

Snapshot: The Changing Habits of Ordering Online

As takeout and delivery become more integrated into daily life, customers are changing when they decide to treat themselves to an ordered meal.

Online Ordering Flattened Across the Week…

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Online ordering volume has always grown with the work week. However, this behavior is slowly becoming more balanced, with early weekday ordering becoming more common.

… And Across Mealtimes.

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The same shift flattening order volume across days is happening within days, too. While dinner is still clearly the most popular meal to order online, dinner orders decreased while breakfast and lunch orders increased.

Snapshot: The United States of Tipping

Think tipping is the same everywhere? Think again. Only nine in ten delivery orders received a tip, and the size of those tips varied quite a bit.

Percent of Orders Receiving a Tip





Average Tip Amount (Pickup & Delivery)





Which States Tip The Best and Worst?

Based on average tip per delivery



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In-Person Dining

For all the changes that came to the restaurant industry in 2022, nothing felt nicer than getting back to the business of in-person service. Heading into the second full year of the recovery, operators now have in-person events as yet another revenue channel to lean on as in-person dining demand softens.

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Diners are more comfortable in-person than they’ve been at any point since the pandemic started.¹¹ They’re saying as much in surveys, and they’re showing it with drastically fewer Google searches¹² for “restaurant COVID.”

Transaction data confirms that in 2022, diners entered a new phase of comfort on-premises.

38% increase

in dine-in orders through BentoBox’s Dine-In Order & Pay

84% increase

in online ticketed event sales

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1, 3, 5, 7. National Restaurant Association, “Restaurant Business Conditions Survey.” August 2022. 2. U.S. BLS, Series “CPIUFDSL” and “CES7000000011”, retrieved from FRED. 4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Current Employment Statistics.” 6 & 8. Popmenu, “58% of U.S. Consumers Are Dining Out More Often in 2022.” October 2022. 9. Restaurant Business, “At FSTEC, Restaurants Show That Technology Is No Longer A Luxury.” 20 Sept, 2022. 10. Assuming a 30% commission fee on third-party ordering. 11. Morning Consult, “Tracking the Return to Normal: Dining.” 22 June, 2022. 12. Google Trends. 13. BevAlc Insights, “Category on the Rise: Non-Alcoholic Wine, Beer, and Spirits.” 17 Oct, 2022.