Independent restaurants represent over half of the commercial restaurant units in the U.S., despite a 3% drop in the number of independent units, according to The NPD Group. Visits to independent restaurants declined 2% over the last five years, and in the quarter ending March 2018, independent traffic declined 1%.
Yet independent restaurant operators are forecast to spend about $39 billion with foodservice manufacturers and broadline foodservice distributors in 2018, representing 15% of total restaurant operator spend.
Another positive sign is that independent operators, who represent a third of broadline foodservice distribution dollars, increased their purchases with leading broadline distributors and cases ordered by 2% in the quarter ending March 2018 compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Independent restaurant operators face different challenges than chains, as they have less resources and capital to withstand tougher times. But many are thriving and contributing significantly to the U.S. foodservice market, said Warren Solochek, NPD’s senior vice president of industry relations.
For the full story, go to this week’s Food Institute Report.