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New restaurants relying on traditional favorites

If slow economic times tend to put a damper on risk-taking, then new data on restaurant units confirms that consumers and restaurant operators are staying in the ‘comfort zone.’ Based on its tracking of U.S. restaurant openings, closings and changes in ownership, CHD Expert found plenty of evidence that traditional restaurants offering value-oriented foods fared better than others during the first six months of 2012.
Among 12 different types of restaurants tracked by CHD Expert, full service family-style restaurants, cafes and diners experienced the most net growth with 3 percent more units, followed by delivery and take-away (only) limited-service restaurants (2.5 percent) and fast casual restaurants (2.4 percent).

While we’re certainly encouraged to see more restaurant segments growing than declining, it does appear that consumers remain frugal about their spending, looking for safe economical solutions without compromising on quality,” said Cathy Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert.

Based on the type of menu served, 2012 restaurant openings also reflected the appeal of familiar favorites. The best growth from January to June occurred in the American/Traditional category, with 5 percent more units, followed by Mexican restaurants (up 3.1 percent).

In contrast, the declines were seen in frozen desserts, with units down 1.1 percent. Kearns noted that since the data only reflects the first six months of 2012 it is difficult to determine whether declines in frozen desserts reflect seasonal patterns or consumers’ efforts to eliminate unnecessary spending. While the number of traditional ice cream units declined, frozen yogurt is still performing well, largely due to consumer interest in healthier snack options.

Notable geographic differences were also apparent, with the three highest-growth states all located in the East. West Virginia topped the list with a 3.6 percent net increase in restaurant units, followed by New York (2.6 percent) and Connecticut (2.2 percent). Interestingly, the biggest declines also came from this region with Delaware losing 2.6 percent of its restaurant units in the first six months of 2012.

The new unit data is derived from one of several U.S. and international foodservice databases managed by CHD Expert, which also provides market research, marketing and sales tools and data management services for the foodservice industry.

To learn more about these and other resources, contact Catherine Kearns by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 312-768-6916.


About CHD North America
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 food service providers in their sales and marketing strategies by providing the most comprehensive and accurate foodservice census, housing operator intelligence for more than 5 million operators worldwide. For additional information, please visit https://www.chd-expert.com or call 1-888-CHD-0154.