A recent report by Yelp found that U.S. business openings are on track to break last year’s record, driven in part by increased restaurant growth.

The research showed that restaurants saw a 12 percent increase in new business openings for January to July compared to the same period last year. The category labeled “food businesses” witnessed an 18 percent rise, and bars/nightlife experienced a 15 percent jump. Leading all segments was hotels and travel, which felt a 39 percent jump versus 2022. 

Each month in 2023 witnessed growth of at least 15 percent in new businesses versus the same period in 2019. The first seven months collectively experienced a 25 percent increase in new businesses compared to the same stretch in 2022 and a 46 percent lift when compared against 2019. 



This is how new business opening have trended in 2023. Each month set a new record for itself. 

January: 74,388 

February: 65,060

March: 74,329

April: 65,529

May: 67,121

June: 66,201

July: 71,343


For perspective, 637,590 new businesses opened in 2022, up 12 percent versus 2019. However, restaurants saw a 9 percent dip when comparing 2022 versus 2019. Bars/nightlife felt a 7 percent drop and Food businesses experienced a 7 percent increase.

For the first time since Yelp started tracking this data, every state, including Washington, D.C., surpassed new business openings versus 2019. The East Coast is seeing the most growth by percentage. Topping the list is Rhode Island (up 46 percent), West Virginia (up 46 percent), Delaware (up 45 percent), and Vermont (up 38 percent). When ranked by total openings overall, California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Georgia saw the largest number of new businesses. More specifically, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Dallas, and Atlanta drew the most openings. 

The positive trajectory came with enhanced diversity. Between January and July 2023, businesses owned by LGBTQ individuals experienced a 33 percent increase, Black-owned enterprises grew by 28 percent, and Latin-owned businesses also expanded by 28 percent, all surpassing the national average growth rate. Additionally, Asian-owned companies registered a noteworthy 13 percent uptick in new openings nationwide.

Women have been a driver of economic expansion as well. Yelp data showed more than 33,000 new women-owned business openings between January and July, a 19 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2022.

The report tells a different story than what’s been happening in the restaurant industry as of late. Between July and August, multiple restaurant chains have filed bankruptcy, including Green District, Wild Wing Cafe, and Back Yard Burgers. Others have shuttered several restaurants; O’Charley’s closed 18 units and Southeast-based chain Fatz Cafe permanently shut down all 18 of its stores in one day. 

Growth, Story