The United States had 4,442 more restaurants in September 2012 than in September 2011, according to NPD Group data. The United States had 616,008 restaurants as of September 30, 2012, the data indicates, for a 0.7% increase from 611,566 a year earlier.
The data indicates that the quick serve restaurant (QSR) segment grew the most, up 1% for an increase of 4,037 units.
Full service restaurants - including casual dining, midscale/family dining, and fine dining restaurants - was stable from 2011 to 2012.
The number of chain restaurants in 2012 was up 1.1%, to 276,238, from 273,259 in 2011.
The count of independent restaurants was 339,770 in 2012, up slightly at 0.4% from 338,307 in 2011, and marking the second year in a row of an increasing number of independent.
According to The NPD Group's CREST(R), which tracks consumer use of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets daily, total restaurant traffic was up 1 percent for the year ending November 2012 compared to the same period last year. U.S. consumers made 60 billion restaurant visits during the period.
"The changes in spending, consumer visits and unit growth while slight are, at least, on the positive side," said Greg Starzynski, director- product management, NPD Foodservice. "I expected a cautious approach to unit expansion as consumer visits improved, and I have no reason to suspect that will change in the foreseeable future."
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