In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy analyzes trends in restaurant unit growth on the state level. Florida led the nation in restaurant unit growth in 2012, followed closely by California. In percentage terms, Tennessee set the pace with a solid 9 percent gain in restaurant units.
Nationally, the restaurant industry added 12,371 eating and drinking place establishments* in 2012, the strongest increase since 2007, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On the state level, trends were generally positive in 2012. Forty-four states (including the District of Columbia) added eating and drinking place locations in 2012, while only 7 states experienced a decline in units. This marked the largest number of states adding restaurants since 2006, when 45 states added establishments.
Florida led the nation by adding a net 1,751 eating and drinking place establishments in 2012, followed closely by California with a net increase of 1,721 units. Texas added 1,296 restaurant establishments in 2012, while no other state registered growth in excess of 1,000 units.
In percentage terms, Tennessee led the way with a solid 9 increase in eating and drinking place establishments in 2012. Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota and Indiana all added eating and drinking place locations at rates of more than 3.5 percent in 2012.
In contrast, New Jersey lost a net 111 eating and drinking place locations in 2012, a 0.6 percent drop from its 2011 level. Kansas lost a net 78 eating and drinking place establishments in 2012, while the eating and drinking place sector in Massachusetts declined by a net 66 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.
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Eating and Drinking Place Establishments by State
Source: National Restaurant Association analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data
Note: Figures represent establishments with payroll employees.