Foodservice Equipment Reports

New CHD Expert Data Details Unit Dominance Of Independents In Full Service

Updated restaurant unit data from CHD Expert shows independent operators continue to overwhelmingly dominate the full-service category. Of the 443,000 full-service units tallied by CHD as of February 2015, 90% are defined as independent, defining operator organizations with fewer than 10 units as independents. (Independents sometimes are defined as operators having fewer than five units.) In comparison, independents control only 41% of the 229,000 limited-service restaurant concepts.

LSR chains are also substantially bigger than FSR chains leading the category to be dominated by relatively fewer brands. CHD Expert counts more than 94,000 units controlled by the top 10 LSR brands led by Subway, McDonald’s and Starbucks, while the top 10 FSR chains combine for only slightly more than 12,000 units with Applebee’s, Waffle House and Denny’s having 1,800, 1,700 and 1,500 each, respectively.

“Many foodservice manufacturers and distributors mistakenly believe that they need to rely on big chain restaurants to generate larger revenues from the sales of their equipment and products,” said Brad Bloom, v.p.-sales and marketing at CHD Expert The Americas. But Bloom added that big chains also have significant purchasing leverage and the discounting leads to lower supplier margins. “The independent landscape is full of opportunities when equipped with the relevant data on this foodservice segment.”

The independent vs. chain landscape also has important regional variations, the data show, with the Northeast having the most independents compared with chain units. Leaders are Vermont (97% independents), New York (96%), Washington, D.C. (96%), Maine and Rhode Island (95% each).

Information on CHD Expert foodservice census products can be found at The research firm is headquartered in Lyon, France, and has foodservice census data on more than 30 countries around the globe, counting more than 5 million operators worldwide. Its U.S. base is in Chicago at 888/243-0154.

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