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Texas Foodservice Industry Surpasses $100 Billion in Sales for the First Time as State’s Largest Private Sector Employer

New data underscores the strength of an industry that continues to battle inflation, worker shortages and supply chain disruptions

AUSTIN, TEXAS (March 19, 2024) –
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Texas foodservice industry has achieved two major milestones, crossing the $100 billion sales threshold for the first time and graduating to the largest private sector employer in the state, surpassing the healthcare industry. These milestones and new data collected from a diverse group of restaurants across Texas reflect the resiliency of the industry as it continues to grapple with the economic shock waves caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The National Restaurant Association reviewed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (preliminary 2023 figures) and found:

  • Foodservice businesses employ 1,461,800 Texans—11% of the state’s total employment. Over 1.2 million Texans work in restaurants.
  • At the same time, small businesses continue to lead the industry with 91% of Texas restaurants employing fewer than 50 people.
  • Texas has 56,739 restaurant locations driving $106.8 billion in annual sales.
  • Restaurants are an economic engine. For every dollar spent in a Texas restaurant, $2.35 is contributed to the state’s economy.

A recent survey conducted by the Texas Restaurant Association underscores that restaurants are making these gains despite inflation and worker shortages. In January:

  • Only 48% of Texas restaurants had enough employees to support existing demand.
  • Despite 64% experiencing food cost increases and 58% experiencing labor cost increases, 55% were able to keep their menu prices about the same.
  • In total, 42% of Texas restaurants reported that their profit margins decreased slightly, 32% said that they stayed about the same,12% reported that they decreased significantly, 12% reported that they increased slightly, and 2% said they increased significantly.
  • Overall, Texas restaurant operators were cautiously optimistic, quantifying their overall outlook as a 58 on a scale of 1-100 (with 100 being extremely optimistic).

“The resiliency of Texas restaurants in the face of strong economic headwinds is a direct reflection of the growth mindset that we’ve successfully championed at the Texas Restaurant Association.” Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., president and CEO of the TRA said. “Between the legislative wins that we’ve secured at the state capitol to the crucial time and money savings that we deliver through the products, services, and education we provide to our members, the TRA is proving that the future for restaurants is bright when we band together.”     

With a new project entitled Texas Restaurant Economics, the TRA plans to regularly collect and report survey data from a diverse group of operators across the state. With this new source of local, timely information, TRA members, policymakers, and the public will be empowered to make data-driven decisions. 

To learn more and join the effort, foodservice businesses should visit

Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $95 billion restaurant industry, which encompasses upwards of 57,000 locations and a workforce of over 1.4 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA, the association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 87th year. For more information, please visit