NPD data show decline in restaurant units in 2010

by Josh Sosland
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CHICAGO — Confirming continued pressure on the food service sector, the NPD Group issued data indicating a 1% decline last year in the number of restaurants operating in the United States and Canada. NPD data indicated the cutbacks were centered on independent rather than chain restaurants.

The NPD ReCount data showed overall restaurant numbers down 5,551, or 1%, from a year earlier. ReCount is a census of commercial restaurant locations in the United States and Canada. Independent restaurant units dropped by 2% while chain counts were flat.

The declines fell more heavily on full-service restaurants, though quick service restaurants also lost ground. Full-service restaurant units, which include casual dining, mid-scale, and fine dining segments, experienced a unit loss of 3,429, or 1%. Quick service restaurants lost 2,122 units, or 1%, the NPD Group said.

“These past two years have been particularly tough for independents, which don’t have the resources to compete with the chains,” said Greg Starzynski, director, product development-food service at NPD. “Over the past few years we’ve lost several thousand independent restaurants.”
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