Restaurant Openings and Visits Increased in the Spring of 2012

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With U.S. restaurant visits and consumer spending increasing after a recessionary slump, a more upbeat industry posted a 0.5 percent gain in restaurant counts in Spring 2012, according to themost recent restaurant census conducted byThe NPD Group, a leading market research company.Total restaurant units reached 592,960, an increase of 2,872 units and the first positive change since 2009.

The number of independent restaurants posted a slight increase of 984 locations, bringing the total of independent restaurants to 320,193. Chain restaurant units were up by 1,888 units to 272,367.

Most of the increase in units were in quick serve restaurants, which increased by 2,275 locations.Full service restaurant units, which include casual dining, mid-scale, and fine dining restaurants, posted a 0.2 percent increase.

“With improvement in restaurant visits and spending, restaurant operators, especially in the quick service segment, are more willing to invest in new locations,” said Greg Starzynski, director- product management, NPD Foodservice.”However, I expect them to take a more cautious approach to expansion than we saw earlier in the past decade.

Visits to U.S. restaurants improved by 1 percent over a year ago for year ending May 2012, and consumer spending increased by 2 percent.

Posted by Lauren Grelle-Athanasiou

08/22/12