CHICAGO – Customer visits to fine dining establishments has rebounded from double-digit declines the segment experienced during the recession, The NPD Group reported.

Visits to fine dining establishments climbed 5 percent in the year ending Dec. 30, 2013, compared to double-digit visit declines during the same period in 2008, according to NPD, a leading global information company. The fine dining segment represents a small share of the overall foodservice industry, NPD noted, but the segment holds a 14 percent share of foodservice consumer spending. The segment has led visits in the foodservice industry for the past three years. Gains in visits to fine dining restaurants led the foodservice industry in 2013.

“Fine dining restaurant operators are listening and responding to marketplace needs,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “There was a time when many of these restaurants were in such high demand that they decided who could visit and what they would pay. The recession hit and there was more supply than demand. Fine dining operators responded by making the changes necessary to appeal to their customer base and their customers have responded.”

Relaxed dress codes, added value and culinary innovations are ways in which the fine dining segment has evolved to meet customer needs, according to NPD.