A new study shows local, non-chain restaurants are on the decline.

A study released by information company NPD Group shows that the country is losing its independent restaurants. From spring 2015 to this past spring, 9,300 more mom-and-pop restaurants closed than opened, a 3 percent decrease. The report attributes the closures to fewer people eating out over the past several years.

“The decline in U.S. restaurant units overall is a reflection of the industry’s stalled traffic growth,” Greg Starzynski, director of product management for NPD Foodservice, said. “There will not be significant unit expansion for a while."

The report said family dining and casual dining restaurant traffic declined by 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

"One day, we woke up and saw all these fast-food places here," Nicholas Adam, owner of the historic Ariston Cafe along Route 66 in Litchfield, said. The Ariston opened in 1924. Adam said there are much more options for consumers now than there were just a few years ago, but his establishment will endure. "I told my staff that we'll just have to be better than they are."

Adam said the trend of small restaurants declining is certainly alarming, but he thinks the biggest reason for the closures is poor management.

"So many people just assume they can get in the restaurant business, serve good food and have mediocre staff, and that's not the issue," Adam said.

Although chain restaurants gained more than 1,000 open locations in this same 12-month period, there are still more independent, local establishments, the study said.

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