The restaurant industry added a net 9,022 establishments in 2014, which represented the fifth consecutive year with gains of at least 7,000 locations. The quickservice segment registered its largest unit expansion since 2006, while growth in the fullservice segment slowed 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.
The restaurant industry continued to grow at a steady pace in 2014, according to preliminary figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The restaurant industry added a net 9,022 establishments* in 2014, an increase of 1.5 percent. The 2014 expansion was an improvement over the net 7,562 locations (+1.3 percent) added in 2013, and represented the fifth consecutive year in which the industry grew by at least 7,000 establishments.
In comparison, the overall private sector added a net 163,702 business locations in 2014, a solid 1.8 percent increase over 2013. The 2014 gain represented the strongest annual increase since 2007, which was the last time that the economy expanded by more than 150,000 business establishments in a single year.
The private sector’s strong 1.8 percent increase also snapped an eight-year streak of the restaurant industry outpacing the overall private sector, in terms of growth rates in the number of establishments.
Within the restaurant industry, the quickservice segment added the most units in 2014. The quickservice segment added a net 4,691 establishments in 2014, a 2.2 percent increase over 2013 and the largest expansion since a gain of 4,807 locations in 2006.
The snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – which includes concepts such as coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added a net 2,182 locations in 2014, a strong 4.4 percent increase over its 2013 level. The solid 2014 growth represented the largest expansion in snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars since 2007, when the segment added more than 2,500 locations (a 6.1 percent increase).
In contrast, the fullservice segment added a net 2,645 locations in 2014, which was down from gains of 4,330 units in 2012 and 3,240 units in 2013. The 2014 increase was the fullservice segment’s smallest expansion since 2009, when it added a net 753 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.