Foodservice Equipment Reports

Among States, 45 Posted Net Unit Gains In 2015

On the state level, restaurant unit growth trends were mostly positive in 2015, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As reported by NRA Chief Economist Bruce Grindy in his June 10 “Economist’s Notebook” blog, 45 states and the District of Columbia added eating and drinking place locations in 2015, while only five states experienced net-unit declines.  This represented the largest number of states registering growth since 2005, when 46 states also added establishments on a net basis.

The BLS establishment figures are based on unemployment insurance filings of businesses that have wage and salary employees.

California led the nation for the second consecutive year, adding a net 2,025 eating and drinking place establishments in 2015.  The 2015 gain also marked the fourth consecutive year in which California’s restaurant industry expanded by at least 1,000 locations.   

Texas added a net 1,119 restaurant establishments in 2015, which represented the fifth time in the last six years that the Lone Star State added at least 1,000 units. Georgia and Virginia saw their restaurant sectors expand by more than 600 locations in 2015.

Virginia set the pace in percentage terms, with a strong 4.6% increase in eating and drinking place establishments in 2015. The District of Columbia saw its restaurant industry expand by 4.1% percent in 2015, while Nevada, Georgia and South Carolina all added locations at a 4% rate. The strong growth in Nevada is a pronounced turnaround from the depths of the recession when Nevada saw some of the nation’s largest declines in net unit counts.

In contrast, Minnesota lost a net 229 eating and drinking place locations in 2015, a 2.3% drop from its 2014 level. Surprisingly, Florida’s eating and drinking place sector shrunk by a net 167 locations in 2015, after expanding by at least 500 establishments in each of the previous five years. 

Grindy’s “Editors Notebook” post on state unit growth can be found at and includes data on growth of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

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