There were only 3,045 more restaurants in the United States in spring 2013 than there were in spring 2012, according to a recent U.S. restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group, a global information company. The total number of U.S. restaurants is now 617,505, a slight 0.5% increase over last year, based on NPD’s spring 2013 ReCount, which is a count of commercial restaurant locations in the U.S. compiled in the spring and fall each year.
The spring ReCount, which includes restaurants open as of March 31, 2013, shows that unit increases were among restaurant chains. The total chain restaurant count grew to 280,336, a 1.3% increase compared to last year’s count. Independent restaurant units had a very slight decline to 337,169 units in the spring census period, a 0.2% decrease in units. Quick-service restaurant units stood at 328,162, up 1%, and unit counts for full-service restaurants, which include casual dining, midscale/family dining, and fine dining, were flat at 289,343 units.
According to The NPD Group’s CREST, which tracks daily consumer use of commercial and noncommercial foodservice outlets daily, total restaurant traffic was flat for the year ending May 2013, compared to the same period last year. U.S. consumers made 61 billion restaurant visits during the period, which is 1.73 billion less than the visits volumes in year ending May 2009. NPD’s recently released “A Look Into the Future of Foodservice” report forecasts a 4% growth in restaurant supper visits through 2022, which is less than half a percent a year.
“With the restaurant industry not yet fully recovered from the recession, restaurant operators are being more cautious in their expansion plans,” said Greg Starzynski, Director, Product Management, NPD Foodservice. “Based on our forecast for slow traffic growth over the next decade, restaurant expansion will continue to be conservative.”