Fast-Casual Restaurants Lead Unit Growth in 2013


Fast-casual chains led the restaurant industry’s unit growth through most of 2013, expanding the total number of locations in that segment by 6 percent, according to The NPD Group.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm found in its Fall 2013 ReCount report that the fast-casual segment also outpaced the unit growth of the entire quick-service segment, which encompasses fast-food and fast-casual outlets.

Overall, the unit count across segments in the restaurant industry rose by 4,179 locations, or 0.7 percent, to a total of 633,043 restaurants during the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2013.

“The restaurant recovery continues to move slowly, and as a result, operators are taking a cautious approach to expansion,” Greg Starzynski, director of product management for NPD Foodservice, said in a statement. “This conservative approach to restaurant unit expansion will continue into the foreseeable future.”


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