Key Insights From Square’s Q4 2023 Restaurant Industry Report


Square’s Restaurant Industry Report for the fourth quarter of 2023 provides a comprehensive look into the evolving landscape of the restaurant sector, focusing on delivery trends, the cost of popular coffee drinks, restaurant financing, and the upcoming minimum wage increase in California. Here’s what restaurant owners and industry stakeholders need to know.

Breakfast Delivery Gains Popularity Amid Work-from-Home Trends

One of the standout findings from the report is the increased preference for breakfast delivery over other mealtimes. This shift is likely influenced by the continuing trend of remote and hybrid work models, which encourages consumers to enjoy the convenience of breakfast delivered directly to their doors. Additionally, the report notes a seasonal pattern in delivery preferences, with demand increasing during colder months and dipping during the summer, suggesting that restaurants may need to adjust their delivery strategies seasonally.

Coffee Drink Prices and Preferences

The report also delves into the world of coffee, revealing that mochas are the most expensive coffee option on average, priced at $5.40, followed by lattes and cold brews. This pricing data, coupled with the insight that whole milk remains the most popular choice among coffee drinkers, with oat milk rising as a close second, can help cafes and restaurants refine their coffee offerings to meet consumer preferences.

Restaurant Financing and Growth Opportunities

Another critical aspect highlighted in the report is the accessibility of financing for restaurants. Square data indicates that restaurants are more likely than other industries to accept loan offers, with the average loan amount being nearly $27,000. This trend underscores the importance of tailored financing options for restaurants looking to expand, upgrade equipment, or cover operational expenses.

California’s Minimum Wage Increase and Its Impact

As California prepares to increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 per hour in April, Square’s report provides timely insights into wage trends within the state. Currently, the median restaurant worker earns $17 per hour before tips and overtime, but nearly a quarter of workers already make at least $20 per hour base wage. This upcoming wage increase reflects broader labor market trends and highlights the need for restaurants to adapt to rising wage standards.

Implications for Restaurant Owners

For restaurant owners and operators, the insights from Square’s Q4 2023 Restaurant Industry Report are invaluable. The growing preference for breakfast delivery, coupled with the detailed analysis of coffee drink pricing and consumer preferences, offers actionable data for enhancing service offerings and meeting customer expectations. Furthermore, the information on restaurant financing and the detailed look at wage trends in California provides a roadmap for navigating financial challenges and regulatory changes.

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, staying informed about these trends and leveraging integrated systems for delivery, financing, and wage management will be crucial for success. Square’s report not only sheds light on these important areas but also reinforces the need for restaurants to adapt and innovate in response to changing consumer behaviors and market conditions.

Image: Squareup

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor at Small Business Trends. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.

One Reaction
  1. Did they ask any questions about the price of inputs? Beef in particular looks poised to continue becoming more expensive.

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