The recession has been hard on independently owned restaurants, according a recent restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group. They survey found that the number of U.S. restaurants declined by -1 percent, or a loss of 5,551 restaurants, from a year ago. However independent restaurants drove the decline, with their number of units dropping by 2 percent during the period.
“These past two years have been particularly tough for independents, which don’t have the resources to compete with the chains,” said Greg Starzynski, an NPD food-service specialist. “Over the past few years, we’ve lost several thousand independent restaurants.”

The good news is that while visits to restaurants declined by 1% over the year, this is an improvement over the 3% decline for the previous year.