More Than 5,000 Restaurant Units Closed In Past Year, NPD Reports

The number of restaurants in the U.S. declined by 1% for the year ended March 31, 2010, according to the latest data from NPD Group’s ReCount census. Independent operators bore the brunt of the pain, the count shows. The total number of net closures was 5,204 units, leaving a total of 579,416 units

Losses were about evenly split between quick-service and full-service units. QSR net closures were 2,521, while full service shuttered 2,683 restaurants. In both cases the vast majority of closed units were independent operations.

In QSR, in fact, chains actually grew their total net units slightly by 164. This means 2,685 net independent QSR units closed. Chain FSR operators showed 275 net closures; independent FSRs closed 2,408 net units. Chains control 69.8% of QSR units and 20% of full-service units. Overall, there are 306,127 QSR units and 273,289 FSR units in the U.S. market.

NPD also reported total restaurant traffic declined 3% during the year ended March 31; total consumer spending at restaurants fell 1% during the year. It was the first decline in dollars NPD has reported since CREST began tracking the industry in 1976. NPD earlier said traffic fell 2% in the first quarter versus last year, a slightly improved traffic trend.

Information on NPD Group research products can be found at www.npd.com.”””

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