Click Here for great Idaho Potato Recipes!

Restaurant Count Shrinks; Burgers Keep Growing

Filed under Research

The total number of U.S. restaurants has declined but the quick-service burger segment continues to eke out growth, according to data from The NPD Group’s ReCount research.

Growth of fast-casual burger chains such as Burger 21 keeps the segment expanding.

Growth of fast-casual burger chains such as Burger 21 keeps the segment expanding.

As of Sept. 30, 2014, there were 630,964 restaurants of all types in the U.S., down 0.7% from the Spring 2014 survey and down about 1% from a year ago. Chain restaurants showed positive growth, increasing 1.1% since Spring 2014 and 1% compared with a year earlier.

“The decline in the total U.S. restaurant count is a reflection of the flat [customer] traffic growth experienced by the foodservice industry in 2014,” according to NPD.

Independent restaurants have not fared as well, falling 2.2% since Spring 2014 to 343,653 total locations now. Over the past year the decline also has been 2.2%. NPD reports that the independent segment was especially hurt by a 3% drop in the number of full-service restaurants (including casual dining, midscale/family dining, and fine dining). Quick-service and fast-casual independents showed no growth.

But all quick-service/fast-casual restaurants taken as a group (both chain and independent) showed a year-over-year increase of 1%. Fast-casual concepts were responsible for most of the gain. “Visits to quick-service restaurants, which represent 79% of total industry traffic, were up 1%, while full-service restaurant traffic, representing 21% of total visits, was down 2% last year,” NPD reports.

But the number of quick-service and fast-casual burger restaurants (both chain and independent) continues to grow, rising 0.8% since Spring 2014 and 0.7% over the past year.

US RestaurantCount 2015