| Aug 3 | trends
CHICAGO ─ According to a recent survey, the number of independent restaurant outlets in the United States dropped by three percent compared to a year ago. That shrinkage brought total U.S. restaurant outlets down by one percent to 630,511 units. The total restaurant count decrease was offset by a one percent increase in chain restaurant units. Fast casual chain units increased by 7 percent, based on NPD's Spring 2015 census of U.S. commercial restaurant locations compiled in the spring and fall each year, which includes restaurants open as of March 31, 2015.
The drop in independent restaurants was concentrated in the full service segment, which includes casual dining, midscale/family dining, and fine dining. Full service independent units were down 3 percent while quick service...