CHICAGO – There were 3,045 more restaurants in the US in spring 2013, a slight increase over the comparable year ago period, according to The NPD Group. The total number of restaurants in the United States is now 617,505, a .5 percent increase over 2012, according to the market research firm's restaurant census ReCount.

Most of the gains were among restaurant chains, which grew 1.3 percent to 280,336, according to NPD Group.

“With the restaurant industry not yet fully recovered from the recession, restaurant operators are being more cautious in their expansion plans,” said Greg Starzynski, director- product management, NPD Foodservice. “Based on our forecast for slow traffic growth over the next decade, restaurant expansion will continue to be conservative.”

Total restaurant traffic was flat for the year ending May 2013, compared to the same period in 2012, according to The NPD Group’s CREST, which tracks daily consumer use of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets. Consumers made 1.73 billion fewer restaurant visits compared to the visits volumes in the year ending May 2009. NPD’s A Look Into the Future of Foodservice report forecasts a 4 percent growth in restaurant dinner visits through 2022, which is less than half a percent a year.