WASHINGTON — The U.S. restaurant industry added more than 8,300 locations between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, marking the strongest period of growth since before the outset of the recession, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Bruce Grindy, chief economist for the National Restaurant Association.
“Even during the extremely challenging business environment of the last few years, the eating and drinking place segment continued to add locations each quarter, albeit at much slower rates than in previous years,” the report notes.
The mobile foodservices segment — also known as food trucks — demonstrated particularly strong growth, with units up 6.7% in the past year. The report notes that the data does not include establishments with no payroll employees, “so the overall growth in this segment is likely much stronger, in terms of total wheels on the road.”
The full-service segment added 4,307 locations, while the quickservice segment added 2,979 — increases of 2% and 1.5%, respectively. Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars posted their first increase in four quarters, adding 270 locations during the past year.
Bars and taverns did not fare as well. That segment lost 304 establishments between the third quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2010 — a 0.7% decline.
The figures are based on a comprehensive census of the unemployment insurance filings of all businesses with wage and salary employees.