U.S. Restaurant Count Declines 2 Percent Inline with Foodable Predictions

U.S. Restaurant Count Declines 2 Percent Inline with Foodable Predictions
  • Paul Barron breaks down his top eight predictions for the restaurant industry.

  • Vegans, mobile payments, and off-premise leading the way spearhead Paul Barron’s 2018 predictions.

    The NPD Group's 2017 fall census has revealed a 2 percent drop in the number of U.S. restaurants, to 647,288 units, over the previous year, according to "Nations Restaurant News."

    Independent restaurants saw the greatest difference with a 3 percent decline, while the unit count for chains remained flat.

    “The U.S. restaurant count is reflective of what’s happening in the foodservice industry today overall,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst, in a statement. “To expand or not expand units is a calculated decision on the part of restaurant operators.”

    A decision Foodable restaurant guru Paul Barron says has been impacted by the rise in demand for off-premise meals and the growth of online companies like Amazon.

    "There's a lot more pressures from online delivery and also the aspect of e-commerce, meal kits, and the likes that are really impeding on how a restaurant is going to grow."

  • Chain counts grew to 301,183 units, a 982-unit increase, which kept the total count flat compared with fall 2016, the NPD Group's report found.

    The total number of independent restaurants declined to 346,105 units, a decrease of 10,952 units from the same period last year, according to the census, which NPD conducts each spring and fall.

    Quick-service restaurant locations declined by 1 percent, to 353,121 units, the report found. Fast-casual chains, which NPD categorizes within quick service, increased unit count by 4 percent, to a total of 25,118 locations.

    Full-service restaurant units, which include casual dining, family dining, and fine dining, fell 2 percent, to 294,167 units in fall 2017, according to NPD.

    The fall census includes all restaurants open as of Sept. 30, 2017. See more about this data at "Nations Restaurant News."

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Emerging Restaurant Brands Set New Pace for Growth While the Rest of the Industry Implodes in 2018

Emerging Restaurant Brands Set New Pace for Growth While the Rest of the Industry Implodes in 2018
  • Foodable Labs releases the Top 150 Emerging Restaurant Brands report.

  • These emerging brands saw 8.2% spike in social traffic and are millennial favorites.

The industry is facing a major slump in 2018, quite possibly the greatest reduction in traffic for total restaurant locations in the past 30 years.

Foodable Labs research reveals this trend based on a combination of three factors – industry sentiment, a transitioning consumer base and slowing social restaurant visits (SRVs.) These factors combined will attribute to the impending doom for the restaurant business in 2018.

This is where the Emerging Brands come in to save the day.

What seems to be a bulletproof approach to brand building, we have found that there are 150 brands that seem to be bucking the trends of slowing traffic, closing locations and a consumer shift. In fact, these emerging brands are breaking the norms of the restaurant business of the past by creating a new approach for an entirely new type of consumer.

These 150 restaurants are leading the industry in a variety of categories. On average, they are up 8.2 percent in SRVs versus the rest of the top 1,000 brands we have indexed, which is down 5.9 percent.

These brands also have an average Sentiment score of 86.5 compared to the industry average at 76.2.

What is even more impressive is the breakdown of consumer base. These brands average a staggering 63.5 percent of millennial consumers, a segment of the population with super buying power.

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Free Report: Top Five Better-For-You Restaurant Brands

Consumers are gravitating to healthier options and this isn’t just a fleeting trend. This movement has forever changed the future of the foodservice industry and has impacted almost every restaurant across the nation.

Diners are expecting to see nutritious options on menus that fit their healthy lifestyle. With that in mind, “better-for-you” concepts are gaining some major momentum in the market. 

Not only are these restaurants trailblazing the way with menus comprised of primarily healthy meal options, but many are also cost-effective, convenient and fast. 

We have pulled the top better-for-you restaurant chains from Restaurant Social Media Index data. 

According to the social data, these restaurant concepts are out-performing the competition in both the healthy sector and in the entire industry. 

But, how are they nurturing their customers to share positive interactions about the brand on social media? Let’s take a closer look at the top five “better-for-you” brands disrupting the industry by providing a high-quality product at a reasonable price-point and with fast service.