Restaurant Population Shrinks

The past few years have been difficult ones for restaurant operators and the independents seem to be shouldering much of the blame, according to new foodservice market research released by The NPD Group. According to NPD's Spring 2010 ReCount Study, the total number of restaurants declined by 5,204 from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, and 5,093 of the units closed were run by independent foodservice operators.

A census of commercial restaurant locations in the United States, the Spring ReCount Study also showed the number of quick service restaurants declined by 1 percent or 2,521 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 2,683 units.

In addition, NPD Group's CREST study, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets, showed that visits to U.S. restaurants declined by 3 percent for the year ending May 2010 compared to a year ago. Consumer spending at restaurants declined by 1 percent, according to NPD.