The total number of U.S. restaurants has dropped by two percent as of Sept. 30, 2016 when compared to the year-ago period, according to the NPD Group. The total number of restaurants was reported at 620,807 units. Restaurant density (units per million population) was at its lowest level in the past ten years, dropping from 1,992 units per million in Fall 2007 to 1,924 units per million in Fall 2016.

Independent restaurant units decreased four percent, while chain restaurant unit counts grew by one percent. The fast casual quick service segment continues to expand, increasing units by seven percent. Visits to quick service restaurants, which represents 80 percent of total industry traffic, was flat in 2016. Independent restaurant traffic fell two percent and chain restaurant visits were up one percent. 

Related: US Consumers Decrease Restaurant Visits; Birmingham Gets its Own Food Hall.