More people than ever before are staying in than eating out, and now restaurant openings nationwide are starting to reflect that trend. New data, compiled by the NPD Group – a consumer market research company – reveals that as of fall 2016, the total number of restaurants nationwide dipped two percent, while restaurant density (restaurants per capita) is at its lowest point in 10 years.
“This is the most significant drop in total U.S. restaurant counts since the recession,” says Greg Starzynski, director of product management for NPD Foodservice, which tracks food service trends, in a statement. “If consumers continue to reduce their restaurant visits, we expect the number and density of restaurant units will continue to decline in response to the lower demand.”
Independent restaurants took the most significant hit with a four percent drop in total units nationwide, while chain restaurants actually saw a small one percent uptick in openings, particularly in the ever-expanding fast-casual market, which nearly doubled in density from 41 units per million in fall 2007 to 74 units per million in fall 2016.
NPD believes that going forward, restaurant numbers, “will continue to decline in response to the lower demand.”