Puerto Rico’s restaurant sector has experienced a remarkable evolution in recent years, showing significant improvement in several areas. From the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017 to the present day, Puerto Rico’s culinary landscape has not only recovered but has also thrived. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of restaurants in Puerto Rico saw significant growth from 3,781 in 2017 to 4,549 in 2022. This represents a remarkable 20.3% increase in the restaurant industry. Moreover, Puerto Rico’s expanded restaurant sector has considerably boosted the island’s affluence and economic growth.
The restaurant industry in Puerto Rico has seen consistent economic growth over the years. Looking at the number of restaurants, the data reveals a positive trend. The number of establishments in San Juan, the nation’s capital, went from 812 in 2012 to 908 in 2022. This shows a notable increase of almost 12% over the ten-year period. On a broader scale, across Puerto Rico as a whole, the number of eating places increased from 3,754 in 2012 to 4,549 in 2022. This shows constant growth of about 21% over the same time frame. However, the only time that the number of restaurants didn’t increase was from 2014 to 2015 and 2017 to 2018, showing a 2% and 2.4% decrease respectively.
Now, focusing on the number of employees, the data also demonstrates a positive trend. In San Juan, the number of employees increased from 13,972 in 2012 to 15,734 in 2022, indicating a rise of 13% over the ten-year period. Similarly, across Puerto Rico as a whole, the number of employees in the restaurant industry increased from 56,086 in 2012 to 65,277 in 2022. This indicates a significant rise of 16% during this period. Notably, 2020 marked the lowest number of employees in the industry, with 52,054 employees in Puerto Rico, and 12,018 in San Juan. However, since then, there has been a 25% increase in the number of employees in Puerto Rico.
The restaurant industry in Puerto Rico has undergone a transformative journey, emerging stronger and more vibrant than ever before. Through resilience, government support, culinary tourism, sustainable practices, and culinary education, the industry has experienced significant improvements. The increasing number of registered restaurants, the rise of culinary tourism, and the embrace of sustainability are just a few indicators of the industry’s success. The future looks bright for Puerto Rico’s restaurant sector and its contribution to the island’s economic growth and general prosperity as it continues to exhibit its rich cultural legacy and unique culinary environment.