CHD Expert Releases The Latest Restaurant Data, Focusing On Independent Restaurants in a Market Landscape Overview

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CHD Expert’s latest restaurant data indicates that in the current US market landscape, independent restaurants out number chain restaurants two to one.

Figure 1 Chain vs Independent Restaurants Top 10 States

Currently there are 454,695 total independent restaurants in operation in the United States, whereas there are 224,266 chain restaurants in operation.

Leading foodservice data and analytics company CHD Expert, releases the latest figures around the current United States restaurant landscape and evaluates how independent restaurants stack up against the more widely recognized chain brands. All data in this report is pulled from CHD Expert’s Restaurant Database as of October 2013. Currently in the United States there are 678,691 total restaurants in operation, equating to approximately 1 restaurant for every 467 American citizens*.

While some of the most recognizable global brands are famous American chain restaurants, in the United States the total number of independent restaurants outnumbers chains almost exactly two to one. Currently there are 454,695 total independent restaurants in operation in the United States, whereas there are 224,266 chain restaurants in operation.

However in terms of annual sales, independent restaurants generally gross less than chain restaurants. 67.3 percent of independent restaurants gross less than $500,000 a year, whereas only 24.8 percent of chain restaurants aggregate less than $500,000 annually. Considering the highest grossing restaurant segment, only 1,023 independent restaurants achieve more than $5,000,000 dollars annually, whereas 1,234 chain restaurants fall into this category.

Breaking down the United States and District of Colombia by their mix of independent restaurants compared to chains, the four states** with the highest percentage of independent restaurants all reside on the North East Coast. New York leads the nation with the highest percentage of independent restaurants with 82.1 percent of the state’s restaurants being independent. This is not surprising, as the five boroughs of New York City, particularly Manhattan, are largely comprised of unique restaurants. After New York is New Jersey with 78.5 percent independent restaurants, followed by Washington DC at 77.6 percent, and then Maine at 76.4 percent.

Considering states with the most independent restaurants by volume, California leads the USA with 12.9% of the US Total, comprising of over 58,540 independent restaurants that annually generate approximately $30 billion in sales fort the California economy. New York is second on this list with 40,928 total independent restaurants, followed by Texas with 33,171 then Florida with 29,449. Rounding out the top ten states by independent restaurants are PA, NJ, IL, OH, NC and MA. See figure 1.

The footprint of independent restaurants in QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) and FSR (Full Service Restaurants) is significant. Independent restaurants make up over 90% of the FSR market, whereas in QSR it drops to 43%. See figure 2.

A majority of independent restaurants fall into the full service category. They represent almost 69% of all unique independent restaurants throughout the nation, with retail sales of over $189 billion annually, whereas limited service restaurants sales achieve $52 billion per year.

"For foodservice professionals who sell their products to restaurants, it is critical to understand the market landscape in your territory," stated Brad T. Bloom, Director of Sales for CHD Expert North America. "It is a misconception that foodservice manufacturers and distributors need to engage with the large chains to land big sales. Often times the low hanging fruit can be the local independents, who’s decision makers can be much easier to get a hold of and sell to. It is more difficult than ever for sales professionals to engage restaurant owners or decision makers, but with relevant restaurant data, sales professionals can spend more time developing strategies that increase sales and less time researching."

To obtain more information about CHD Experts findings, or with general questions about foodservice data, please contact Nicolas Watson.

*Based on US Census population clock estimates October 20, 2013.
**Washington DC is considered a state for this exercise.

About CHD Expert

CHD Expert is the worldwide leader in collecting, managing, and analyzing data for the Away-from-Home Global Foodservice Market. For more than 10 years, CHD Expert has been dedicated to support Foodservice channel members in providing a global vision and an in-depth understanding of the industry (in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific).

Our objective is to support our clients in their sales and marketing strategies by providing the most comprehensive and accurate foodservice census housing market information for more than 4 million operators worldwide. For more information or learn about all of our products available, please visit CHD-Expert.com.

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Michelle AppelKern
CHD Expert
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Nicolas Watson

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