The number of US restaurants has declined by 2% to 647,288, according to the NPD Group’s autumn 2017 census.

The global information company said the main source of this decrease is due to a 3% drop in the number of independent restaurants, compared with a stable restaurant chain count.

The restaurant chain count reached 301,183 units, a 982 increase, while independents fell to 345,105 units, a decrease of 10,952 from last year.

Fast casual chains are performing best, with a 4% increase to a total of 25,118 units, with casual dining, fine dining and family dining establishments at a total of 294,167 units, a 2% decrease.

NPD’s restaurant industry analyst, Bonnie Riggs said: “The US restaurant count is reflective of what’s happening in the foodservice industry today overall.

“To expand or not expand units is a calculated decision on the part of restaurant operators. Chains simply have more monetary resources to grow units whereas independents do not.”

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The NPD Group tracks consumer use of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets daily. A 1% rise in quick service restaurant visits, primarily driven by chains, assisted restaurant traffic further.

The autumn census includes all restaurants open as of 30 September 2017.