U.S. Restaurant Counts Down by 9,450 From 2010

U.S. restaurant unit counts declined by 2 percent, a loss of 9,450 restaurants, according to The NPD Group's Recount. Recount is a census of commercial restaurant locations in the United States compiled in the spring and fall of each year by the market research firm.

Independent restaurants were hit the hardest, 8,650 of which closed during the census period. Chain restaurant unit counts remained relatively stable. The number of quick-service restaurants declined by 3,485 units. Full-service restaurant units, including casual dining, midscale and fine dining, fell by 5,965 units.

"The decline in independent units is the steepest we've seen since NPD began conducting the Spring ReCount census in 2001," says Greg Starzynski, director, product development-foodservice.

However, the overall decline in the usage of restaurants seems to have stabilized, according to NPD Group's CREST, which tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets. Visits to U.S. restaurants held stable in the tracking year ending in May 2011 when compared to the previous year when visits were down 3 percent. Consumer spending at restaurants was up 2 percent during the same time period.

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