Chain Restaurant Units Increase and Independents Decline in Fall 2011

CHICAGO (March 12, 2012)─The total U.S. restaurant unit count dropped from 587,335 in Fall 2010 to 580,852 in Fall 2011, mostly due to independent restaurant closings, based on the most recent restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group.

NPD’s Fall 2011 ReCount®, which is a census of commercial restaurant locations in the United States compiled in the spring and fall each year, reports that the number of independent restaurants declined by 6863 units during the census period. Chain restaurant unit counts remained relatively stable increasing by 380 units.

The Fall 2011 ReCount, which includes restaurants open as of September 30, 2011, finds that the number of quick service restaurants declined by -1 percent or 1801 units. Full service restaurant units, which includes casual dining, mid-scale, and fine dining restaurants, decreased by 4,682 units, a -2 percent decline from the Fall 2010 ReCount.   

“Restaurant unit losses were steep during the recession, but we are seeing that total unit losses are softening from past ReCount censuses,” says Greg Starzynski, director, product development-foodservice. “Independent restaurants, however, are still struggling.”

Source: The NPD Group/ReCount®Fall censuses

According to NPD’s CREST® service, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets, for year ending December 2011, visits to U.S. restaurants were flat from same time year-ago. Consumer spending at restaurants improved by one percent for year ending December 2011 compared to same time year-ago.


*Editor’s note: ReCount® restaurant counts are available by a variety of breakdowns; including geographical breakdowns, e.g., zip code, city, state, designated market area, census areas, etc.


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