Micro Restaurant Chains Grow in Major Cities As Successful Independent Restaurants Expand

Chicago, July 31, 2017 — The next step for a successful single- to two- unit restaurant, an independent restaurant, is to grow into a micro-chain of three to 19 units. Although total independent restaurant unit counts have declined by 4 percent from a year ago, micro-chain units are increasing in major U.S. cities, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Micro-chains, which are often locally-based, represent a diverse segment of restaurants that typically reflect emerging trends in food, a positive customer experience, and hit the right buttons for restaurant customers today.

Evidence that micro-chains are resonating with today’s consumers is the growth in these chains’ unit counts in major cities. Dallas-Fort Worth realized the strongest gain in micro-chain units, up 5 percent from a year ago, according NPD’s biannual restaurant census.  Micro-chain units also increased in Atlanta (+3), Chicago (+1), Houston (+2), Los Angeles (+2), Orlando (+4), San Francisco (+2), and Washington, DC (+3).  Micro-chain unit counts were flat in New York City and Philadelphia and declined by 2 percent in Boston.

Micro-chains also fared best among restaurant chain systems (i.e. small and major chains) in terms of orders placed and spend with U.S. broadline foodservice distributors.  The 3 to 19 unit chains increased their total spend for foods and goods with broadline distributors by 5 percent and cases ordered by 3 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to year ago, reports NPD’s SupplyTrack®, which tracks monthly sales of every product shipped from leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators.  Micro-chain spend and cases ordered from broadline foodservice distributors also increased in many of the major markets where there was also unit growth*.  In comparison, the total dollar spend for all restaurant and retail foodservice operators with major broadline foodservice distributors was 2 percent and cases ordered were up 1 percent.  

“Micro-chains are bringing to the restaurant scene a new attitude and perspective,” said Annie Roberts, vice president of NPD’s SupplyTrack. “Many are successful because they have their finger on the pulse of today’s restaurant consumer. They are often locally-based and offer their customers a creative concept, great food, and an enjoyable experience. What’s not to like.”   



Related Press Releases

Aging U.S. Consumers Slow Down Food And Beverage Consumption Making It A Battle for Market Share
Aging U.S. Consumers Slow Down Food And Beverage Consumption Making It A Battle for Market Share

The aging population and corresponding changes in life stage will contribute to the decline in total eating occasions on a per capita basis in the U.S., according to The NPD Group’s recently released Eating Patterns in America.

What’s Life Stage Versus Generational Behavior When It Comes to Dinner Planning? Millennials Are Showing Us The Difference.
What’s Life Stage Versus Generational Behavior When It Comes to Dinner Planning? Millennials Are Showing Us The Difference.

It’s a common oversight not to age generations or recognize how life stage can impact behavior. To understand the difference between generational and life stage behaviors enables food companies and foodservice operators to develop products and marketing messages that are more relevant to their target consumer audiences.

It’s PSL Time! Pumpkin Spice Latte Limited Time Offers Are Still Working It for Fans and Foodservice Operators
It’s PSL Time! Pumpkin Spice Latte Limited Time Offers Are Still Working It for Fans and Foodservice Operators

The payoff for coffee and restaurant chains promoting seasonal pumpkin spice latte limited time offers are more visits and a higher average check size, according to The NPD Group’s Checkout Analytics.

Total U.S. Restaurant Count At 660,755 in Spring 2018, A One Percent Drop From Last Year, Reports NPD
Total U.S. Restaurant Count At 660,755 in Spring 2018, A One Percent Drop From Last Year, Reports NPD

The U.S. restaurant count reached 660,755 in spring of 2018, a 1 percent decrease in units from a year ago, according to a restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group. The primary source of the decline in U.S. restaurant units was a two percent drop in independent restaurant units.


Press Contact

Kim McLynn
847-692-1781
kim.mclynn@npd.com

@npdfood

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

Want more?

Complete this form to hear from NPD.


npd.com | © 2018. The NPD Group, Inc.

Follow Us on