Independent Units Decline by 4%, NPD Reports

Report also indicates total number of US restaurants decreased by 2% from 2016 to 620,807 units. Meanwhile, Chipotle shutters Shophouse concept

The total number of US restaurants decreased by 2% from a year ago to 620,807 units, according to The NPD Group. With the decline in restaurant units, restaurant density (units per million population) is at its lowest level in the past ten years, dropping from 1,992 units per million in fall 2007 to 1,924 units per million in fall 2016, based on NPD’s Fall 2016 ReCount®, which includes restaurants open as of 30 September 2016.

Independent restaurant units decreased by 4% and density declined from 1,132 units per million a decade ago to 1,002 units per million in fall 2016, reports NPD. On the flip side, chain restaurant unit counts grew by one percent in the fall 2016 increasing to 297,351 units.  Density of chain restaurants grew from 860 units per million in fall 2007 to 922 in fall 2016. Independent, full-service restaurants suffered the most, according to NPD.

“This is the most significant drop in total US restaurant counts since the recession,” says Greg Starzynski, director of product management, NPD Foodservice. “If consumers continue to reduce their restaurant visits, we expect the number and density of restaurant units will continue to decline in response to the lower demand.”

Chipotle shutters Shophouse concept

Chipotle has sold off the leases for all 15 locations of its Southeast Asian spinoff ShopHouse, with execs citing poor sales performance as the reason for the decision. The concept started in 2011 in Washington D.C., with most locations concentrated there and in California.

All roughly 300 ShopHouse employees were offered jobs at Chipotle after the closures, Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold confirmed, but would not state the name of the new buyer. Chipotle’s other spinoffs – Pizzeria Locale and Tasty Made, a burger concept, will remain open.

The ShopHouse closure comes on the heels of a tough couple years for Chipotle, which saw its public sales plummet in the wake of a major foodborne illness outbreak.

Amelia Levin