California led the nation in restaurant unit growth in 2014, adding over 3,000 establishments. Growth was generally broad-based on the state level, with 40 states adding restaurant locations in 2014, according to the NRA’s chief economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.
Nationally, the restaurant industry added a net 9,022 establishments* in 2014, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2014 growth was an improvement over the net 7,562 locations added in 2013, and represented the fifth consecutive year in which the industry grew by at least 7,000 establishments.
On the state level, trends were generally positive in 2014. Forty states (including the District of Columbia) added eating and drinking place locations in 2014, while only 11 states experienced a decline in units.
California led the nation by adding a net 3,050 eating and drinking place establishments in 2014, while no other state registered growth in excess of 1,000 units.
Illinois added a net 876 restaurant establishments in 2014, while Texas added a net 845 locations. This represented the first time in five years that the Lone Star State didn’t add at least 1,000 units.
New York and Florida saw their restaurant sectors expand by just over 600 locations in 2014.
California also led the way in percentage terms, with a solid 4.7 increase in eating and drinking place establishments in 2014. Washington saw its restaurant industry expand by 4.1 percent in 2014, while Illinois added locations at a 3.3 percent rate.
North Dakota, Delaware and Nevada all added eating and drinking place locations at rates of at least 2.5 percent in 2014.
In contrast, Wisconsin lost a net 251 eating and drinking place locations in 2014, a 2.1 percent drop from its 2013 level. Indiana lost a net 94 eating and drinking place establishments in 2014, while Maryland’s eating and drinking place sector shrunk by a net 91 locations.
*The establishment figures, which are based on unemployment insurance filings of businesses that have wage and salary employees, represent the most comprehensive census of establishments with payroll employees on the national, state and local levels.