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U.S. Restaurant Count Down by 5,551 from Last Year

CHICAGO (January 24, 2011)—The number of U.S. restaurants declined by -1 percent, or a loss of 5,551 restaurants, from a year ago, according to a fall 2010 restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group. According to NPD's Fall 2010 ReCount®, which is a census of commercial restaurant locations in the United States compiled in the spring and fall each year, independent restaurant units dropped by -2 percent compared to a year ago, and chain counts were flat.

Based on NPD's Fall 2010 ReCount, which includes restaurants reported to be open as of September 30, 2010, the number of quick service restaurants, declined by -1 percent or 2,122 units. Full service restaurant units, which includes the casual dining, mid-scale, and fine dining segments also experienced a unit loss of -1 percent or 3,429 units.

"These past two years have been particularly tough for independents, which don't have the resources to compete with the chains," says Greg Starzynski, director, product development-foodservice at NPD. "Over the past few years we've lost several thousand independent restaurants."

SegmentSystem TypeFall 2009Fall 2010PCYA*
TOTAL RESTALL584653579102-1%
 CHAINS2674992674080%
 INDEPENDENTS317154311694-2%
Quick Service RestaurantsALL307966305844-1%
Full Service RestaurantsALL276687273258-1%
*Percent Change from a year ago Source: The NPD Group/ReCount®, Fall 2010

According to The NPD Group's CREST®, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets, restaurant traffic has been down since January 2009, although visit declines are softening. For year ending November 2010, U.S. restaurant traffic declined by -1 percent compared to a year ago. This is an improvement over the -3 percent declines in visits for year ending November 2009 compared to the prior year.

*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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