• There are approximately 11,526 eating and drinking locations in Colorado.
  • Total restaurant sales in Colorado exceeded $11.6 billion in 2016 and are expected to exceed $12 billion in 2017. (This is a 7.6% increase over 2014 and 38% increase in sales since 2010.) 
  • Colorado foodservice industry employs 275,000 workers.
  • Colorado restaurants will generate approx. $309 million in local taxes.
  • More than 75% of Colorado's restaurants are independently owned and operated.
  • Colorado restaurants account for 12% of the state labor force.


  • Disposable income is expected to advance 3.1% in Colorado, compared to 2.2% nationally.
  • Population in Colorado will grow 1.4% compared to 0.8% nationally.
  • Total employment in Colorado is projected to increase 2%, compared to 1.5% nationally.
  • Total U.S. foodservice industry sales will reach approximately $790 billion, 4% of GDP.
  • U.S. consumers will spend approximately $2.2 billion per day on food away from home.
  • The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private sector employer with 14.5 million people employed in 1 million locations.


  • ½ of all adults have worked in the foodservice industry at some time.
  • 1 out of 3 adults found their first job in the restaurant industry.
  • ½ of all adults are restaurant patrons on a typical day.
  • 23% of table-service restaurant sales come from travelers & tourists.
  • Restaurants employ more minority managers and have more women in management and ownership positions than any other industry.


Restaurants typically operate on razor thin profit margins of 3-6%. A typical $15 restaurant meal gets broken down as follows:
  • $5.04  employee salaries and wages
  • $4.95  food and beverage costs
  • $4.40  operating costs
  • $0.61  operator income before taxes

SOURCE: Colorado Restaurant Association using National Restaurant Association and Colorado State Government data.

See how restaurants impact our economy throughout Colorado.

Click the following graphic to enlarge.
Colorado Restaurant Economic Impace

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Network with fellow business owners, stay up to date on legislative issues important to our industry, connect with your peers, take advantage of significant savings opportunities and stay informed. Join the Colorado Restaurant Association!

Restaurant Owners – The CRA is a full-service solution for every type and size of restaurant. We are powerful advocates for the industry, an information hub and a catalyst for networking. And we’re committed to offering meaningful benefits and resources you need to run a profitable business.

Service Providers - Companies that serve restaurants have a strong ally in the CRA. Our restaurant members look to the CRA members first when seeking products and services, they also make the real connections with service providers at local and state events.

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