In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest establishment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The restaurant industry added over 8,300 locations between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, the strongest gain in more than two years.
Eating and drinking places added a net 8,326 locations* between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This represented the strongest four-quarter gain in over two years, and the 35th consecutive gain dating back to the start of this BLS data series in 2001. Even during the extremely challenging business environment of the last few years, the eating and drinking place segment continued to added locations each quarter, albeit at much slower rates than in previous years.
Within the major industry segments, growth was generally broad-based in the third quarter. The fullservice segment led the way with a net gain of 4,307 locations between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, or a 2 percent gain in percentage terms. Meanwhile, the quickservice segment added a net 2,979 establishments during the four-quarter period, an increase of 1.5 percent.
The snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment added 270 locations between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, its first increase in four quarters.
In percentage terms, the mobile food services segment added locations at a strong 6.7 percent rate between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, as the food truck concept continues to grow in popularity. (Note that these figures exclude establishments with no payroll employees, so the overall growth in this segment is likely much stronger, in terms of total wheels on the road.)
In contrast, the drinking place segment (bars and taverns) lost 304 establishments between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, or a 0.7 percent decline in percentage terms.
*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.