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Q: Number of "Gourmet" restaurants in the US (total, and as a %of all restaurants) ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Number of "Gourmet" restaurants in the US (total, and as a %of all restaurants)
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: fireflower-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 08 Oct 2005 06:34 PDT
Expires: 07 Nov 2005 05:34 PST
Question ID: 577867
I would like to know the number of "gourmet" restaurants currently in
the US, and what percent this is of the total number of restaurants in
the US.

The question is:  is there a simple way to operationaly define "gourmet"?
I suggest that you use the total tab (cost) of a meal for two (with a
modestly priced wine; and plus tip) as a crude criterion for what
qualifies a restaurant as being "gourmet".
I would suggest using $100 per couple (table of 2) as the LOWER bound of "gourmet"

If you can think of a credible/defensible alternative criterion, then
that's fine also.

I realize that there may be a degree of "guestimation" in the answer,
which is OK, as long as the thinking behind the approximation is
explained and seems credible.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 08 Oct 2005 09:52 PDT
Guesstimation, indeed!

I can rustle up some numbers to put you in a probably ballpark, but
it's hard to get a concrete handle on things.

The Census Bureau says that out of 500,000 or so restaurants in the
country, there are 195,462 full-service restaurants.

Of these, 104,000 serve wine, and somewhat smaller number -- 86,000 --
serve spirits and liquor.  I would imagine that most of the gourmet
restaurants in the country are within this pool of 86,000.

A separate document I found mentions that there are an estimated
40,000 "fine dining" restaurants in the US.  Although the term isn't
explicitly defined, the National Restaurant Association generally
considers fine-dining to mean a tab of $30 per person, or more.

So, not all fine-dining restaurants would be considered gourmet, by
your $100 per couple criteria.

Just guesstimating, I would say 1/3 of the fine-dining places would
hit the $100 threshold, which would put the number of gourmet
restaurants at 1/3 or 40,000, or about 13,000 gourmet eateries in the

If these numbers look reasonable to you, I can post all the source
references as an answer to your question.

Whaddya think?


Clarification of Question by fireflower-ga on 09 Oct 2005 03:12 PDT
The approach you describe is fine for my purposes, so lets rock and
roll: let's post the source references, etc, and call it a day.
Subject: Re: Number of "Gourmet" restaurants in the US (total, and as a %of all restaurants)
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 09 Oct 2005 05:02 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

I'm glad to hear my number estimates/guesstimates work for your needs.

Here are the numbers again, along with their sources:

From the US Census Bureau, we have the following:


Food Services and Drinking Places: 2002
2002 Economic Census

Table 1. Summary Statistics

Food services and drinking places..........504,430

Fullservice restaurants....................195,492

Table 3. Product Lines by Kind of Business

Fullservice restaurants

Alcoholic drinks served at the establishment........128,196


Distilled spirits....................................86,677


And from some published articles of the National Restaurant Association, we have:

[a dollar threshhold for 'fine-dining']
Restaurants USA magazine 

Fullservice Steams Ahead 

...Fine-dining establishments with per-person check sizes of more than
$30 also enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth throughout the 1990s

[and, a number of fine-dining restaurants in the US]
Restaurants USA magazine 

"Our target market is the 40,000 restaurants that fit in the
fine-dining classification, take reservations and have more than $1.5
million in revenue per year."


So, back to the guesstimations.

Assuming that one-third of the 40,000 fine-dining restaurants are the
more-expensive gourmet restaurants, then there are 40,000 / 3 = 13,333
gourmet restaurants in the country.

This amounts to:

13,333 / 504,430 = 2.6% of the nation's restaurants are gourmet restaurants, and

13,333 / 195,492 = 6.8% of the nation's full-service restaurants are
gourmet restaurants.

13,333 / 86,677 = 15.4% of the full-service restuarants serving liquor
are gourmet restaurants

I trust this information fully answers your question.

But please don't rate this answer until you have everything you need. 
If there's anything else I can do for you, just let me know by posting
a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your service.

And with that, I'm calling it a day...


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for the Census Bureau and for
the National Restaurant Association, along with Google searches on:

[ fine-dining restaurants ]
[ "gourmet restaurants" ]
[ "2100..100000 fine-dining" ]
fireflower-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00

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