CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm, announces that the overall US restaurant sector is growing; after six years, the market is back to the level it was at in 2009.

According to CHD Expert’s 2009–2014 Commercial Trends Data Report, last year yielded a 2 percent positive net market change in the total number of operating US restaurant establishments. This translates to a net gain of 14,648 operators nationwide, which is up from 2013’s 1.2 percent net market change, when a net of 8,906 operators opened nationwide. On the flipside, the report also showed that over 316,000 commercial operators closed over the past six years, which is almost 40 percent of the entire market total.

Alaska experienced the largest negative change with a -5.5 percent decrease, followed by Hawaii (-2.5%), and Wyoming (-1.6%). Half of the top ten states with the largest losses experienced a less than one percent negative change.

Overall, however, the market change percent for states was positive. The openings and closings for restaurants and bars in the years 2009 through 2014 improved every year, with a steady incline since 2012.

Last year’s nationwide trend was growth. The top three states with the largest increases in the market included Texas (9.2%), North Dakota (4.9%), and Florida (4.8%).

CHD Expert’s report also shows that the majority of menu segments also experienced positive net changes in 2014. America’s shift toward healthy eating and fresh food prepared to order has heavily impacted the restaurant landscape, with more Fast Casual establishments (e.g. Chipotle, Panera Bread, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop) opening to meet consumer demand.

While demand dictated that some chains open more locations across the nation, the overall chain restaurant segment saw a 0.8 percent decline in 2014, with a net market loss of approximately 1,800 units. The bright side is that Independent operators carried the industry growth via a 2.8 percent positive market change, adding approximately 12,000 units. CHD Expert defines a chain restaurant as an establishment or brand with 10 or more restaurants in operation. Fewer than that is classified as independent.

The Independent Smoothies/Juice segment achieved an 8.7 percent positive market change in 2014, with many independent operators opening their doors to take advantage of the country’s hunger for these healthy Quick Service options.

Another exciting 2014 rebound was seen in both the Fine Dining and Upscale Restaurant segments. Despite experiencing decline in the previous years, these more expensive dining options finally saw positive market change year over year since 2013. Bakery and Frozen Dessert establishments also saw sizable positive growth in 2014, at 8.8 percent and 8.6 percent respectively.

As a whole, the US restaurant industry is showing positive change, with 58,081 new restaurants opening their doors in 2014, a 22 percent increase over 2013.

“The health of the restaurant industry correlates strongly with the health of the economy, and it is encouraging to see many new establishments beginning their journey to success,” says Brad Bloom, VP of Sales and Marketing at CHD Expert. “Americans are going to restaurants, from the trendy and new to the time-tested and loved, in record numbers. It is truly part of our culture, and when we have disposable income, going out to eat with friends, family, and even by ourselves is one of our favorite things to do. This has a trickle down effect on the economy, because as restaurants more quickly turn over tables, they will need a consistent and high quality source of materials, be it food, kitchen equipment, front of house supplies, and/or the countless other odds and ends that a restaurant needs to operate. At CHD Expert, we have our pulse on the restaurant industry, and make it our goal to help suppliers connect with establishments to sell products for the long-term. The insights of this report are telling, and we are very optimistic for what this means for our industry as a whole.”  

Finance, News, CHD Expert