For the last three years, rd+d pulse surveys have asked readers in what area they had seen the greatest amount of operator investment. For the first time in the survey’s three-year history, interiors garnered the most attention with 38% of readers surveyed in August saying remodeling of interiors was the area where they’ve had seen the greatest operator investment.

Another 28% of readers said upgrading and improving outdoor dining areas was where they’d seen the greatest amount of operator investment in 2022. This is a decline from last winter when that same question garnered the top spot with 43.4% of readers naming outdoor dining as the number one area of operator investment. Clearly, the investment focus is shifting back inside for a number of operators.

Off-premises dining investments are still hot, however. Upgrading or investing in tools to improve off-premises dining was the top area of investment for 12.5% of readers. Another 9% said upgrading or adding drive-thrus was where they’d seen the greatest operator investment.

Finally, another 12.5% of respondents said “other” areas and those included a variety of responses mostly related to labor-saving technologies, employee retention and BOH repairs and upgrades.

rd+d’s ongoing research project periodically surveys qualified subscribers on the state of restaurant development and design. This survey was fielded in early August 2022.