U.S. restaurant visits dropped from 62.7 billion in 2008 to 60.6 billiion 2011, and independent restaurants accounted for 87% (2 billion) of those losses, according to The NPD Group.
Independents represented 28% of industry traffic in the year ending November 2008, and now represent 27%.
NPD's biannual count of U.S. restaurants, ReCount, shows independent units having dropped by 7,158, while chain units grew by 4,511.
The fall 2011 ReCount shows chain units flat and independent units down 2% versus the fall 2010 count.
Total restaurant industry traffic for the year ending November 2011 was flat compared to a year ago. Chain restaurant visits were up 1%, while visits to independents were down 4%.