The National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy analyzes trends in restaurant unit growth on the state level. California led the nation in restaurant establishment growth in 2013, followed closely by New York. In percentage terms, Kentucky set the pace with a solid 5.1 percent gain in restaurant locations.
Nationally, the restaurant industry added a net 8,362 eating and drinking place establishments* in 2013, according to newly-released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2013 expansion followed stronger gains of 9,944 locations in 2011 and 11,649 locations in 2012.
On the state level, trends were generally positive in 2013. Forty states added eating and drinking place locations in 2013, while only 11 states (including the District of Columbia) experienced a decline in units.
Like the recent national trends, growth was somewhat less widespread on the state level in 2013, relative to the two previous years. Forty-two states added locations in 2011, while 44 states saw unit growth in 2012.
California led the nation by adding a net 1,368 eating and drinking place locations in 2013, followed closely by New York with a net increase of 1,237 units. Texas added a net 986 restaurant establishments in 2013, which represented the first time in four years that the Lone Star State didn’t add at least 1,000 units.
Florida, after leading the nation in 2012 by adding 1,714 units, expanded its restaurant industry by 818 locations in 2013.
In percentage terms, Kentucky led the way with a solid 5.1 increase in eating and drinking place establishments in 2013. South Carolina saw its restaurant industry expand by 3.8 percent in 2013, while Iowa added locations at a 3.6 percent rate.
Louisiana saw a modest increase of 1.2 percent new restaurant locations in 2013, up 99 locations over the previous year’s 8,307.
In contrast, Minnesota lost a net 126 eating and drinking place locations in 2013, a 1.3 percent drop from its 2012 level. North Carolina lost a net 84 eating and drinking place establishments in 2013, while the District of Columbia’s eating and drinking place sector shrunk by a net 68 locations.
Read more from the Economist’s Notebook and get additional analysis of restaurant industry trends on Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).
*The establishment figures, which are based on unemployment insurance filings of businesses that have wage and salary employees, represent the most comprehensive census of establishments with payroll employees on the national, state and local levels.