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National Restaurant Association - Economist’s Notebook: Restaurant industry added most locations since 2007

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Economist’s Notebook: Restaurant industry added most locations since 2007

In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest trends in restaurant location growth.  The restaurant industry added a net 12,371 locations in 2012, the strongest gain since 2007.  In addition, the industry continued to outperform the overall economy, with unit growth more than double the rate of the overall private sector.

In a sign of continued resilience in the midst of a challenging economic environment, the restaurant industry added locations last year at its strongest pace since 2007.  According to recently-released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant industry added a net 12,371 establishments* in 2012, up from a net gain of 9,944 locations in 2011.  In addition, the 2012 performance was the strongest gain since 2007, when the industry added a net 13,169 locations. 

In percentage terms, the restaurant industry added locations at a 2.2 percent rate in 2012, more than double the 0.8 percent net increase in establishments for the nation’s overall private sector.  This marked the continuation of a recent trend, as the restaurant industry outperformed the overall private sector in each of the last six years, in terms of growth rates in the number of locations. 

Within the restaurant industry, the fullservice and quickservice segments added locations at similar rates in 2012.  The quickservice segment added a net 4,633 establishments in 2012, up from a gain of 3,506 units in 2011 and the strongest increase since the segment added 4,807 locations in 2011. 

Similarly, the fullservice segment added a net 4,601 locations in 2012, after expanding by 3,338 units in 2011.  The 2012 gain was the strongest fullservice growth since an increase of 6,660 establishments in 2007.

Meanwhile, the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – including coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added a net 1,135 locations in 2012, after registering a net increase of only 867 units in 2010 and 2011 combined. 

*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. 

Read more from the Economist’s Notebook. For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper at www.restaurant.org/trendmapper (subscription required).

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