Research Outline

Independent Restaurants


To determine the number of independent restaurants in the US, the total number of associations that service this group as well as the largest associations.

Early Findings

  • There were 346,105 independent restaurants in the US in 2018. According to a report by CHD Experts, independent restaurants make up 68 percent of the total US restaurant landscape.
  • About 68 percent of all independent restaurants in the country are classified as full service restaurants(FSR), while the rest (32 percent) are classified as limited service restaurants.
  • The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest association of restaurants in the country. The NRA currently represents over 500,000 restaurant businesses. The association is one of the oldest as well — it recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. The NRA is open to independent restaurant owners as well as large restaurant organizations.
  • Restaurant Owner is another reputable association for independent restaurant operators. The association currently regards itself as "the world's first online community of independent restaurant operators." The organization represents over 52,650 restaurant businesses, and it's headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

Summary of Findings

In our initial hour of research, we were able to determine the number of independent restaurants in the country as well as prominent restaurant trade associations open to independent restaurant owners. However, we were not able to determine the number of restaurant trade associations present in the US, and we do not believe further research on the topic would yield any additional information.