CHICAGO — The total restaurant count in the United States dropped 1% from the fall of 2010 to the fall of 2011, mostly due to independent restaurants closing, according to The NPD Group.

The total restaurant count was at 587,335 in the fall of 2010 and dropped to 580,852 in the fall of 2011. During this period NPD’s ReCount census of commercial restaurants showed the number of independent restaurants declined by 6,863 units while chain restaurants remained stable and increased by 380 units. It also found the number of quick-service restaurants declined by 1%. Full-service restaurants decreased by 2% during the period.

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