Independent restaurant operators represent a third of broadline foodservice distribution dollars, and their spending has increased year over year for the past two years, according to The NPD Group, a research and information company.
NPD said independent operators increased their spending with broadline foodservice distributors in 2015 by 3 percent and by 5 percent in 2014. Much of the spending lift in 2014 was due to an increase in the cost of ingredients. Commodity ingredient prices stabilized in 2015, and the 3 percent spending growth rate of independents was reflective of organic growth.
Broadline spending grew fastest in the South and West regions, with 5 and 4 percent increases, respectively. The Northeast region, typically known for its independent restaurants, posted the slowest growth among all regions.
“While independents are hardest hit by economic downturns and commodity price increases, we also know that those who were able to survive are doing well,” says Annie Roberts, VP of NPD SupplyTrack. “Most who become independent operators do so out of a passion—to cook, to serve, to own. They have heart and those who offer good food are not only surviving, they’re thriving.”