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Datassential: 10% of all U.S. restaurants have closed permanently

restaurant losses 3-29-21

CHICAGO, March 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Datassential revealed that 10.2 percent of U.S. food establishments have closed permanently since the pandemic began, citing new data from the company’s proprietary Firefly database released today.

Of the 778,807 food establishments in operation since the onset of COVID-19, 79,438 have closed for good as of Monday, according to the report from Datassential. The figure does include restaurants that have opened during the pandemic.

That includes restaurants at all levels of service: QSR (fast-food), fast-casual, midscale, casual and fine dining as well as food trucks. Food trucks have been affected the most of any segment, with 22.5 percent of the mobile restaurants permanently off the road.

The quick-service industry – the biggest segment of the foodservice industry – has weathered the pandemic with the fewest closures, at 9.8 percent.

Chain restaurants, with the exception of the largest chains with more than 501 units, have closed permanently at a higher rate than independent restaurants. The largest permanent closure rate among chains is restaurants with between 51 and 100 units, at 16.2 percent.

By cuisine, French restaurants have been the most impacted by permanent closure, at a rate of 15.3 percent. Mixed ethnicity operators had the next highest rates of permanent closures, at 12.7 percent. Burger and Thai restaurants have closed at the slowest rate during the COVID crisis, with just 7.3 and 7.5 percent, respectively, permanently closed.

The District of Columbia has seen a higher rate of permanent restaurant closures than any of the 50 states at 14.9 percent. Delaware has seen the lowest rate of permanent restaurant closures among the states, at 8.2 percent.

“This last year has been one the toughest the restaurant industry has ever faced,” said Jack Li, Datassential’s CEO. “But the good news is that the rate of closures is slowing, and the future is bright for those restaurants who have learned to adapt to the host of new challenges facing them in our new normal.”

About Datassential

Datassential, based in Chicago, is a food industry research and insights firm. Learn more at For ongoing coverage on the COVID-19 crisis, visit


Samantha Des Jardins