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.”

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.