Lyndon French/The New York Times

Lyndon French/The New York Times

"After a prolonged stretch of explosive growth, fueled by interest from Wall Street, experts say there are now too many fast-food, casual and other chain restaurants.

Since the early 2000s, banks, private equity firms and other financial institutions have poured billions into the restaurant industry as they sought out more tangible enterprises than the dot-com start-ups that were going belly-up. There are now more than 620,000 eating and drinking places in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of restaurants is growing at about twice the rate of the population."

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