The Asian Restaurant Industry

Pinpointing Statistics for This Increasingly Popular Menu Type

Currently representing just over 9 percent of the total national restaurant landscape, Asian restaurants are growing in popularity in the United States. Independent Restaurants (1-9 units nationwide) strongly dominate this restaurant market, making up approximately 94 percent of the landscape.

2014 – Asian flavors are taking hold in the US restaurant landscape, according to data from CHD Expert. The Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm finds that the broader, inclusive “Asian” Menu Type is the 3rd most popular menu type in the US, accounting for 9 percent of the national restaurant landscape. On an individual level, the “Chinese” Menu Type ranks as the 8th most popular in the US.

The Asian Menu Type is comprised of a variety of cuisines. These include Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Sushi, Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi / Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Korean, Other Asian (Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia), and Asian Unclassified. For a breakdown, see Figure 1.

See Figure 1:

As of December 2014, there are more than 64,000 Asian restaurants in operation in the United States. In terms of popularity by state, Hawaii ranks first, with 20 percent of the state’s restaurant landscape being made up of Asian restaurants. For perspective, the total number of restaurants in Hawaii makes up less than 1 percent of the entire US restaurant landscape. California and Washington State round out the top three, with Asian restaurants comprising 15 percent of each state’s restaurant landscape.

The average Asian restaurant will bring in over $400,000 in revenue each year. CHD Expert finds that Asian restaurants on average spend approximately 33 percent or $8 billion of this revenue Independent restaurants dominate the Asian restaurant market to the tune of approximately 94 percent. (For reference, CHD Expert classifies an independent restaurant as a restaurant brand that has less than 9 units in operation. Once a restaurant has more than 10 units in operation, it is classified as a chain). This leaves only six percent (or roughly 4,000) to be considered as chains. Panda Express, with 34 percent of the chain market, is the largest Asian Chain Restaurant in the United States. Noodles & Company, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Pei Wei Asian Diner, and The Flame Broiler round out the top five. See Figure 2.

See Figure 2:

Of the more than 64,000 Asian restaurants in the US, about 84 percent are Full Service Restaurants (FSR), while 15 percent are classified as Limited Service Restaurants (LSR). At LSRs, food is purchased at a counter and paid for before the food is served, while FSRs offer table service and operate with a wait staff. Only 8 percent of Asian restaurants are Fast Casual, and just 2 percent are considered Quick Service.

In terms of average check, 58 percent of consumers have an average check total within the $15-$20 range, and 14 percent have an average check total within the $7-$10 range, making Asian restaurants an affordable option for most people.

Overall, CHD Expert data shows that Asian flavors and cuisines have a growing impact on the restaurant landscape of the United States, whether they are being adapted to the American palate or launched as an entirely new concept. For example, Chipotle Mexican Grill has recently opened ShopHouse, a restaurant that serves customizable Southeast Asian-style rice bowls that use the fresh ingredients that Chipotle is known for. The restaurant has locations across the East and West Coasts. Additionally, Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, is experimenting with a Vietnamese sandwich restaurant called Bánh Shop that offers up Saigon-style street food. The Bánh Shop concept is currently being tested in Dallas, TX in a stand alone store location and also at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As these examples demonstrate, Asian flavors are spreading successfully throughout the US.

Asian dishes are popular choices for American diners, particularly now as consumers are focusing on more healthy dining options. The fact that Asian cuisine is so easily customizable is a bonus that often leads to repeat customers.

“The American restaurant landscape is always evolving, and once-foreign foods are becoming more commonplace than ever before. Asian flavors are about as diverse as the restaurant landscape itself,” said Brad T. Bloom, Director of Sales at CHD Expert North America. “The Asian Menu Type is varied, and while that can be exciting, it can also be difficult to navigate. CHD Expert is committed to helping foodservice operators and professionals understand this expanding market, and find the many opportunities within it.”

For those who would like more information about the Asian Restaurant Landscape in the US, CHD Expert has created this complementary visual representation of the Asian Restaurant Industry.

Download the Asian Restaurant Industry Infographic

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