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Daily Archives: July 29, 2009

Recession puts dent in U.S. restaurant count

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Recession puts dent in U.S. restaurant count 
By Sarah E.  Lockyer



PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (July  27, 2009) The total number of restaurant locations in the United States shrunk during the past year, as smaller chains and independents in particular had difficulty weathering the economic storm.

According to the latest NPD Group ReCount, which tallies all commercial restaurant locations in the United States, the number of restaurants fell 1 percent this spring to 577,178 locations. A little more than 4,000 restaurants were closed from a year ago, when the United States boasted 581,201 restaurants, according to NPD research. The latest data was collected from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009.

The hardest-hit categories were fine-dining independents, which saw unit counts fall 7 percent. Smaller family-dining chains were close behind, with a 6-percent drop in locations among chains of between 50 and 99 units and a 5-percent drop in locations among chains that numbered between 100 and 499 locations”.

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The article goes on to point that large chains (over 500 units) actually gained unit strength by a slender 1%.

This shows the pressure that independent chains are under. With more limited buying power and fewer ad dollars, it’s harder for indies to compete in times of economic decline. this doesn’t bode well for the health of the US dining market, because it’s independents which provide support for regional and local cuisines as well as being forward-thinking, progressive and creative applications of modern cuisine.

Hopefully, the American public will continue to support their locally-owned restaurants.