Business Dining: What’s in Store for 2023?

Dinova Staff | December 19, 2022

Business Dining: What to Expect in 2023

Here’s what to expect, according to the latest data and trends.

After facing multiple challenges over the past few years, from COVID to supply chain issues and inflation, restaurants could undoubtedly use some good news approaching 2023. Fortunately, according to the data and analysis in our Q4 State of Business Dining Report, there are many reasons to be optimistic. 

Since 2020, we’ve monitored corporate cardholder data to measure business dining recovery. By analyzing BDIndex data alongside Technomic’s consumer spend data and the larger trends shaping corporate dining behaviors — like business travel, events, and policies — we can predict what’s in store for restaurants in 2023. 

1. Business dining approaches a full recovery.

Our data model predicted that the BDIndex, which measures current business dining spend against pre-pandemic spend, would reach 92 in Q4 2022. That’s just 8 points shy of a full recovery! Although business dining naturally tends to slow in Q1, after the holiday rush, there’s every reason to expect recovery to continue in 2023.

  • Takeaway: Business dining is nearing a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Positive trends (below) could bolster recovery in 2023.
SoBD-2023-Expectations

2. Corporate travel boom continues.

Business travel is one of the major drivers of business dining, and right now, it’s soaring. The latest GBTA Business Travel Recovery Poll showed COVID concerns continuing to wane, with domestic bookings at 63% of pre-pandemic levels. 85% of travel managers expected bookings to increase in 2023.

  • Takeaway: Restaurants have an opportunity to capture more lucrative business as corporate card-holding travelers return to the table.

3. Offsite meetings exceed pre-COVID numbers

Although hybrid work remains the norm and has become permanent at many organizations, companies are using offsite meetings and events to build culture and drive employee engagement. Knowland predicts that meeting levels will recover to 106% of 2019 levels next year.

  • Takeaway: Corporate meetings and conferences are big business for restaurants. Check out our tips on targeting meeting planners, courtesy of our restaurant partners’ CMOs.

4. Inflation's impact lessens

While consumers have been tightening purse strings and seeking more deals amid growing inflation, restaurants could soon see relief. Supply chain issues are steadying, and decreasing energy costs will put downward pressure on food prices. What’s more: Technomic predicts that increasingly expensive groceries will shrink the perceived value gap between food at home versus away from home.

  • Takeaway: Restaurants may see some relief in 2023. In the meantime, they should continue focusing on attracting corporate diners who are less price sensitive.
Business Dining: What to Expect in 2023

5. Corporate focus shifts to sustainability

In the GBTA’s 2022 Sustainability Report, 88% of travel industry professionals saw addressing climate change as the “number one priority area for action.” More companies are formalizing their sustainability goals, and reducing carbon emissions is typically the primary goal. They will soon be adjusting their corporate T&E policies accordingly.

  • Takeaway: As companies shape travel policies to meet their sustainability goals, they will seek suppliers — including restaurants — who can show they are also environmentally conscious.

Want more exclusive insights to inform your business?
Download our free Q4 State of Business Dining Report for exclusive insights.