According to a new report published by The NPD Group, there were 4,000 fewer restaurants in the United States this spring than what was reported in the spring of 2008.
 
NPD's Spring 2009 ReCount, a census of U.S. commercial restaurant locations compiled in the spring and fall of each year, shows restaurant-industry units down 1 percent, or about 4,000 units, compared to no growth in the spring of 2008.
 
According to NPD's Spring 2009 ReCount, collected from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, chains with 500 or more units were up 1.0 percent. Midsize chains, those with 100 to 499 units, and all other system sizes (including independents) declined. In terms of restaurant styles, the family-dining segment continued to contract across all system types while the quick-service segment showed no unit growth overall versus last spring. The fine-dining segment saw the sharpest decline in units.
 
"It's clear that independent restaurants and smaller chains have been most impacted by the slower economy," said Susan Kleutsch, director, product development-foodservice at NPD. "The recession appears to have weeded out restaurants performing poorly prior to the economic downturn, and this seems most true for independents and smaller chains that are likely having a hard time competing with the resources and marketing power of major chains."

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